GET US OUT OF HERE: Backpackers Letty Bell and Dylan Haywood say Bundaberg has a poor reputation among holiday workers.
GET US OUT OF HERE: Backpackers Letty Bell and Dylan Haywood say Bundaberg has a poor reputation among holiday workers. Eliza Goetze

Couple falls foul of fake work ad

THE Aussie backpacking dream is over for a UK couple after an experience in Bundaberg they say left a bad taste in their mouths.

But a dodgy ad could be to blame, with the owner of the hostel where they stayed refuting their claims its ads were misleading.

Letty Bell, 22, and Dylan Haywood, 26, both from Brighton, travelled to Bundaberg from Melbourne two weeks ago after responding to an online ad promising a room and work on a citrus farm.

When they arrived with not much more than the clothes on their backs they were hit with costs they couldn't afford.

"We drove up from Melbourne on the basis of this job,” Dylan said.

But they were sent to the wrong address before being redirected to another location.

The couple said the ad did not mention a $100 bond, nor a $100 deposit for farm equipment.

They also claim they were told, despite owning hi-vis shirts, they had to pay $20 to buy branded hi-vis shirts - only to be told by their farm manager the branding did not matter.

They also made far less than they were anticipating.

"For the whole of last week working eight hours a day we made $420. But our rent, our deposit and our bond comes to $410,” Dylan said.

The bin rate was advertised as $180 but the couple believe they were underpaid.

"We've been losing money the whole time we've been here, to the point where we've booked a train out of here, back to Brisbane,” Dylan said.

"We're not even going to stay in Australia for our second year, because we can't afford to.”

"We've had to phone home to ask for money,” Letty said.

They say many others they met shared similar stories.

"It's a shame because every backpacker has heard of Bundaberg Rum, and it's a lovely town - if we actually earned money, we would be spending plenty of it.”

The owner of the hostel said their ads included bond costs and staff waived the bond for the couple.

"It would not have been our ad - but there are other ads out there that have stolen our copy.”

"There's a lot of dodgy stuff out there.

"We visa check everybody, we check passport photos, our buildings pass council regulations.

"We work our arses off to be legal.”

The farm did not comment yesterday but the hostel owner described it as "one of the most professional farms in Australia”.

"Many of our workers are making $250 a day, and they're not professionals. Not everyone does, but many do.”



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