Doug Shave

Doug Shave


    Minister warns on cheap computers offer

    16/11/2000 6:08 PM

        Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave said in Parliament today that Western Australians dealing with a Perth-based computer retailer faced a considerable risk of loss.

    "There are clear links between Perth-based Info4PC.Com Pty Limited and almost identical operations in the United Kingdom and Canada," Mr Shave said.

    "Both of those overseas firms recently closed down, amid numerous consumer complaints to the authorities in those countries." Pty Ltd offers computers worth an estimated $1,500 for just $299, claiming it can do this because of revenue flowing from sales of market research information provided by buyers.

    "Even if this secondary revenue stream does eventuate later on, Pty Ltd still needs to get about five paying customers now to provide just one computer,"Mr Shave said. Pty Ltd has links with a company in the United Kingdom, which is the subject of legal action in the High Court in London.

    It is estimated the UK company took money from 15,000 consumers but only supplied around 1,000 computers before closing its doors, leaving 14,000 consumers facing losses.

    "I have a real concern that this may happen here in WA," Mr Shave said.

    One of the directors of Pty Ltd, Mr Johnson Everton Williamson, is also a director of the UK-based company and has a criminal record from 1982 to 1993 for dishonesty offences including fraud and theft.

    The Ministry of Fair Trading issued a public warning about Pty Ltd on October 12, 2000.
        Its principal concerns are that: customers pay the full price up front and cannot pay by credit card. The company estimates a long delivery time of between eight and 10 weeks. Similar operations in the United Kingdom and Canada have closed down.
        Mr Shave said that at this stage there was no evidence to indicate breaches of fair trading laws in Western Australia. However, the Ministry of Fair Trading would continue to monitor the situation closely in conjunction with consumer agencies in Australia and overseas.

    Media contact: John Clune 9213 6500