Fair Trading fails on shonky camera retailer

Digital Marketing and Solutions Pty Ltd, owner of the (now apparently shuttered) Camera Sky and Android Enjoyed websites, has been Top of the Flops in NSW Fair Trading consumer complaints register – the little Aussie/HK battler punching above its weight against the likes of Harvey Norman and fellow grey marketer, Kogan.

NSW Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean came down hard on the shonky grey marketer, issuing a strongly-worded press release!

But this was no close run thing. In the first three months of this year, daylight was second after the two Digital Marketing and Solutions online stores amassed 167 complaints between them to the NSW (ahem) ‘consumer guardian’. Next came Kogan with 112 complaints and Harvey Norman with 107.

Samsung and Apple were also in or near the Top 5 – not so surprising considering their vast number of customers – while international ticket scalper Viagogo also featured high in the dishonourable mentions.

Digital Marketing and Solutions has a Preston, Victoria street address and an ABN. But it would be extremely naive to assume it pays any GST on anything it sells – over or under $1000 – even though the website claims it does. A check of ASIC details on the company show it is not even registered for GST!

Android Enjoyed and Camera Sky have featured in the Top 10 complained-about businesses in more months than not since records began in July, 2016. A cross-check with review site productreview.com.au confirms massive customer dissatisfaction, with increasingly frequent accusations of fraud and theft.

100,00 satisfied customers – out of how many in total?

The last 10 reviews in productreview.com.au complain of waiting months for a refund. Here’s one (of several) from yesterday: ‘… I currently have a $2453 order outstanding Order No# 1100071195 & Order No# 1100067859? No phone numbers are working? “Optus regrets this number has been disconnected”! That’s for all 4 different phone numbers and all email address’s are bouncing back! #veryworried Also my order has been outstanding for 9 months 🙁 I have to write this review to warn the people of Australia not to purchase through camera sky! I have held off for 9 months! No products and No Refund!

And so it now it appears the business has simply ‘done a runner’ – its 1300, NSW, Victorian and Queensland phone numbers have indeed all been disconnected. Email no longer works, neither.

It’s not as if NSW Fair Trading wasn’t aware of a looming problem for some time.  Complaints from customers saw the state consumer watchdog re-issue a public warning against the company, after first sounding an alarm in 2016 and issuing an ‘enforceable undertaking’. (Unfortunately, a ‘public warning’ doesn’t work unless it is actually publicised.) At that time Fair Trading said consumers had lost about $150,000 due to orders which had gone missing.

‘An enforceable undertaking is an alternative to prosecution through the courts, which can offer significantly greater benefits to the workplace, industry and community,’ said NSW Minister for Better Regulation, Matt Kean. Not in this case. (And just as public warnings need to be publicised, enforceable undertakings need to be enforced!)

Matt Kean has directed Fair Trading to investigate what further action can be taken against the business – but it appears the horse has bolted. With what volume of cash ripped off from customers is yet to be confirmed.

And its not the first time. Back in September 2016, Fairfax ran this story on Camerasky, and Android Enjoyed when they were owned by another company, Digital Skies:
Online consumer discussion forums regarding all three online stores reveal multiple complaints and negative reviews.

‘This company is the subject of numerous complaints, and Fair Trading has been unable to make contact with the business owner despite numerous attempts,’ (Fair Trading Commissioner) Mr Stowe said.

‘Attempts by Fairfax Media to call Digital Skies Group and its affiliates were unsuccessful, with all phone lines unable to take calls.’

NOTE: We contacted the NSW Fair Trading media office which appeared unconcerned regarding its failure to protect consumers, AND retailers who adhere to Australian consumer and tax laws. Who Trade Fairly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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