Woman with Down syndrome sold $1,700 worth of cosmetics

Jovita deJong is upset after she was sold face cream that was more than $1,000. (JULIE JOCSAK/QMI...

Jovita deJong is upset after she was sold face cream that was more than $1,000. (JULIE JOCSAK/QMI Agency)

Marlene Bergsma, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. -- A city woman with Down syndrome who was sold $1,700 worth of face cream by a Pen Centre merchant is glad her experience is raising awareness.

Jovita deJong said at first she "felt bad" when she realized products she thought cost $5.65 and $11.35 actually went for $565 and $1,135.

"I was upset when I found out," she said.

But the social media storm created after her purchase is helping to call attention to the importance of independent living, she said.

DeJong, 27, was at The Pen Centre last week with her community support worker to practice independent living skills.

While support worker Suzi Gordon stopped to talk to an acquaintance, deJong went to the Forever Flawless kiosk and looked at face creams. DeJong receives a monthly pension and has a part-time job at Tim Hortons, so shopping for personal items and paying with her debit card is an important part of achieving independence, Gordon said.

But when deJong made two separate purchases at the kiosk, Gordon checked the receipts and was shocked and angered.

"I thought she was being taken advantage of, that they didn't clearly explain the cost in a way she could understand," Gordon said.

DeJong said she was told the price of her first purchase was "five-sixty-five" and her second purchase was "eleven-thirty-five."

Gordon said she demanded a refund and it wasn't until she raised her voice and a small crowd of shoppers gathered that she succeeded in getting deJong's money back.


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