ACCC failing?

Ozdirect miss-represented its operation to consumers. Here is a small summary of how Ozdirect worked, based on information gathered:

  • They don’t actually handle any goods and don’t have a stock. If you order anything, they will attempt to find a cheapest supplier worldwide and will order things in your name from that supplier.
  • Their official address is a virtual office, nobody works there.
  • They don’t actually do any work just because it’s due. You need to push them. For example, just because you’re waiting for a refund doesn’t mean they even know you exist, you have to contact them and inform them you want your money back.
  • You usually can’t contact them and Office of Fair Trading often can’t contact them either. They have a ticket system but they are free to ignore anything you write there.

Scanning Whirlpool postings about Ozdirect.com..

If you find yourself in a similar position:

  • Contact ACCC (If its a Company)
  • Contact your State Office of Fair Trading
  • Send a letter of demand to the Business/Company
  • Small Claims Court

Seems after years? of complaints in this particular case the ACCC finally acted. Here are some comments about “resellers” that I agree with reposted from Whirlpool:

Posting

  • User #272663 685 posts
  • Here2Help
  • Whirlpool Enthusiast

Barry Dawson writes…

“The trouble with online retailers is they have nothing to lose. Any dickhead can start a drop-shipping online retail business for minimal capital outlay. It’s not like a shop-front retail business where you need rent money, shop fitout money, staff and stock. All you need is a trading name, a couple of hosted servers, some eShop code and a supplier agreement are you are ready to solicit customers and trade.”

Resellers

100% correct! And there are now a LOT of such “skinny margin” on-line resellers touting for our hard-earned cash now … some boasting turnovers of $500,000 a month, but oprating on 1% margin on cost of goods … that is a monthly “profit” of less than $5,000 BEFORE paying any business operating expenses … BUT … they also boast “OVER 30,000 PRODUCTS IN STOCK” (but do not actually hold ANY stock) … and have ZERO technical knowledge about ANY of the products that they “sell”.

And then there are a few on-line drop shippers who have been operating at reasonable commercial margins for many years who have made substantial investments in training their support staff with technical knowledge of the products that they sell, so that customers can receive knowledgeable pre-sales and post-sales support … BUT … every day, customers ask them to BETTER the price offered by the “skinny margin” drop shippers.

And now we see overseas operators advertising products on price comparison sites such as www.getprice.com.au … giving them an immediate 10% “saving” as GST does not apply … and sourcing products in markets that are substantialy larger than Australia, thus their cost of goods is significantly less than products sourced from the official Australian importer or distributor (Canon digital cameras is a good example of this).

SO … if you want the CHEAPEST PRICE … be prepared to take a substantial risk.

My recommendation is to ask some TECHNICAL questions of the on-line shop from whom you are about to make a purchase. If they are CHEAP, but say something like “We sell over 30,000 products … you cannot expect us to know much about a single product … phone the manufacturer!” … AVOID THEM … they are a drop shipper of the worst kind.

However, if they actually CAN give you technical advice AND are sourcing the item from the AUTHORISED AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR … BUY FROM THEM, even IF they are DEARER … you will be supporting an on-line drop shipper who is actually adding value … and will still BE in business in a few years.

Conclusion

The ACCC should act much faster is cases like this. Much fraud could have been avoided. Many, many, complaints were made to the authorities. Yet the ACCC are happy to “sell” you the information about a company that you are trying to complain about? By doing this isnt the ACCC placing itself in a position to be accused of having a vested interest in making information harder to access? Either way, the ACCC needs more manpower or funding or legislation so that similar problems like this are stopped quickly.

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