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Melbourne mum in mourning after the birth of her stillborn baby was refused a full refund on a cot and unused gift voucher even after appealing to the retailers on compassionate grounds.

“There was no compassion from the people that work in industries that are supposed to be all about babies,” Belinda Ainley told The Age.

“You’re left feeling like you not only don’t have your baby, but that you don’t count because everybody feels too awkward to talk about it and so nothing happens.”

Ms Ainley’s son, Ash, was stillborn on Easter Sunday at 38 weeks. She said being discharged from hospital and accessing bereavement payments from Centrelink was traumatic. But then trying to deal with retailers to return thousands of dollars’ worth of baby items after deciding not to have another child, was the final straw.

One store refused to provide a full refund of a $611 cot and accessories because it did not have the original packaging and would need to be resold as a used item. Ms Ainley also said a major clothing retailer would not allow her to return a $100 gift card because it was against store policy.

“There’s been many thousands of dollars in funeral and cremation costs, and medical tests for myself and Ash to try and find a cause of death,” she said. “But returning these things wasn’t just about getting the money back. It’s also a question of, ‘What do we do with a carseat when we don’t have a baby?’ ”

She since decided to sell the cot through a private Facebook page. One of the members found out why she was selling the cot and decided to start a crowd-funding page, which has so far raised almost $1900.

Ms Ainley said she will donate the cot to St Kilda Mums and split the money between stillbirth charity SANDS and Heartfelt, whose volunteer photographers offer their services to the families of children who have died.

“I’ve looked at the cot next to our bed every day and felt so sad. Taking it back to that shop was going to be so hard for me, but instead parting with it is turning into something that’s going to be a really good moment,” Ms Ainley said.

“Knowing that it’s going somewhere where someone will appreciate it, that it’s touched so many people, that strangers have donated money, and people who lost babies 25 years ago have posted messages of support … that has made me feel so happy.”

For help or information about stillbirth, miscarriage and neonatal death, call SANDS 1300 072 637.

Share your comments below.

Image via Shutterstock

  • Wow….im very shocked by this. I find that if you post a very factual account of things without emotion and tag the businesses involved then the general public on facebook will react and take care of things for you.

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  • that’s really disgusting, name and shame

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  • I am so sorry and sad to hear of this woman’s loss. This is utterly disgraceful of the retailer.

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  • This is a terribly sad story. I understand the need to get rid of everything, quickly, and think it’s great there is a supportive group of people out there to help with this process. Those on social media, I mean. Those who do understand. I know retailers have their policies, and I can only imagine this poor woman having to explain her need to return each item. I think a little common sense and compassion is needed in these situations.

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  • I can understand the refusal on the cot but feel the gift card refusal terrible. The store that the gift card had been purchased from had no items to be put back into stock and a refund would have produced good customer relations and feedback.
    I too have lost a bub and am sending all my love and strength to you Belinda. xoxo

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  • I can see both sides of this story and feel for all. It is terrible to lose your baby and also hard for the store. It reminds me of all those horrible utilities, etc. that refuse to believe your husband is dead while you are grieving about it and they demand that only he can fix this problem with the phone, electricity company, etc. and sometimes even showing them the death certificate doesn’t stop them.

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  • Incredible. Like she wasn’t suffering enough. :-( But how good for that crowd-funding. Lovely idea to donate the cot and the money to those charities.
    It must be so terribly sad to give birth to a stillborn baby. I can’t even imagine. :-(

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  • Life ca be cruel at times.

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  • I can’t imagine having to go through this and grieving the loss of a child. But what a beautiful thing she is doing in donating the cot and funds raised

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  • God bless this poor woman and baby ash. To go through that TRAUMA then have to deal with these UNFEELING IDIOTS is heartbreaking. NAME AND SHAME THEM so other mums can shop elsewhere.
    What has happened to COMPASSION above the mighty dollar and sales????????????

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  • I’m so sorry that she had to go through this. I know it’s always about company policy but they could have at least refunded the money for the gift voucher. Unfortunately businesses aren’t like that these days. It was wonderful of the people who started up the crowdfunding page for them.

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  • Such a sad and painful situation ! I also can understand why shops and retailers can’t give money back when it isn’t in original boxes, she’s lucky she got part of the money back on the cot. They could have make an exception for the gift card indeed, but the reality is that it often doesn’t work like that in life and staff have to respect rules and policies.
    Selling the items via Facebook or other media seems a good move to me. Glad someone jumped in for this couple and started a crowd funding page. Bless them !

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  • It sounds harsh but I understand that they wouldnt want to give a full refund on the Cot as they wouldnt be able to sell it for full price without the original box.
    The gift card is something that the full cost could have been refunded without issue.
    Things like car seats im sorry but there is no way a shop should take them back as you cant prove that they were not used and they could be putting another child at risk if they then sold that item and it had been in an accident and should have been scrapped.
    I know it sounds harsh but i think you have to see both sides.

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  • What a sad, sad situation. Glad the family is receiving community support now.

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  • I bet I know which baby retailer that was. This poor lady. Imso sorry for your loss

    Reply

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