Customers demand closure of home appliances business

Recently, A current matter received a flood of emails about an online company founded in Australia called Home Appliances Plus.

Elsewhere, product reviews online have been scathing.

Customers claimed they ran out of money after purchasing items that hadn’t turned up.

Home Appliances Plus. (A current affair)

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Home Appliances Plus seems like a one-stop shop.

It claims to offer up to 70 percent off everything from outdoor furniture, fitness equipment and electronics to jewelry, children’s toys and clothing.

It appears to be targeting Aussie customers across multiple social media platforms, with thousands across the country purchasing items since it was launched last April.

An online company founded in Australia called Home Appliances Plus. (A current affair)

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But now the complaints are pouring in and A current matter has received daily emails from customers claiming after weeks of waiting that their items have not arrived.

They are angry and disappointed and want answers from the company – and for the website to be shut down.

“Either cough up the money and pay it back to everyone or, you know, run their business the right way and let people know what’s going on,” said Sydney-based client Di Williams.

Sydney-based client Di Williams. (A current affair)

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Williams was looking for fitness equipment online when she came across Home Appliances Plus.

After finding the website quickly and easily, she bought a rowing machine and bedside tables for $330.

“There was some sort of mention on the website that there were delays due to COVID-19,” she said.

Williams waited three weeks before emailing the company to ask what had happened.

“And if the order didn’t go through, can it be refunded? I didn’t get an answer and tried to call the website phone number. And that phone number was constantly busy,” Williams said. A current matter.

Dave was looking for a pet cage online when an ad for Home Appliances Plus popped up.

Queensland based client, Dave. (A current affair)

Attracted by the lower price, he bought the item.

“It was professional, it was fast – two or three clicks. I entered my credit card and got the confirmation order almost immediately,” said Dave from Queensland. A current matter.

But he said it still hasn’t arrived.

“They need to stop taking orders and start paying refunds or giving people what they’ve asked for,” he said.

The 54-year-old has since filed a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading Queensland.

“This just has to stop or be stopped very quickly so that no one is affected from here and possibly from here, this company is cleaning up their mess,” said Dave.

Andrew Lea is another angry customer, who is also a forensic accountant.

Andreas Leah. (A current affair)

“This is costing people who can’t afford it,” Lea said.

“Every time you threaten them to take action, they say, ‘Oh no, no, we ship today and we ship tomorrow,’ but it doesn’t happen,” Lea said.

When his items didn’t arrive after more than a month, he contacted Home Appliances Plus for answers, but got only general answers.

“You know it’s in the warehouse, it’s about to leave, we have COVID, our carriers have let us down, we can’t find the carrier’s tracking number,” he said.

Then Lea began to question the legitimacy of the company.

“I’ve looked at some other websites, review sites, and there’s just pages and pages and pages,” Lea said.

More than 1000 customers have left comments about the company on productreview.com.au

Some customers have left comments about the company on productreview.com.au (A Current Affair)

“Avoid at all costs, ordered a refrigerator that never received it, tried to get my money back… they kept avoiding my emails and took them to the ACCC,” one customer wrote.

“High risk, do not buy from them, delivery confirmation emails are constantly ignored. The chat gave the same answer every week.”

And currently the star rating is very low, only 1.4 out of five.

However, there is a small number of customers who said their goods have finally arrived after a long delay.

A company investigation found that Home Appliances Plus was launched in April last year.

The ABN is affiliated with Steel and Water Pty Ltd, with directors Richard Edwards and Ashley Fabics, who are based in Tasmania and Victoria.

What customers fail to realize is that it is a dropshipping business.

“A dropshipping company basically has no inventory and has no stores, no warehouse. So the costs are much lower for those companies,” said Professor Gary Mortimer of the Queensland University of Technology Business School.

Professor Gary Mortimer of the Queensland University of Technology Business School. (A current affair)

“The challenge that comes with that, of course, is if the manufacturer has supply chain issues, they impact your customer and that negatively impacts your brand.”

We tried the company’s phone lines, but all we got was an automatic message.

So we contacted director Edwards, but when we got no response from him, we called fellow director Fabics.

“We don’t have anything to say at the moment, we’re trying to, er, organize everything … we refund orders, but that’s all I can tell you at the moment,” Fabics said.

The domain of the Home Appliances Plus website is registered with ECommerce Commodities.

Brothers Grant and Klint Parker are directors and teach online dropshipping courses.

A current matter doesn’t suggest the brothers are involved in operating Home Appliances Plus, but perhaps those who do could use a refresher.

“Maybe they could watch what they do and how (they) they would feel if this happened to them,” Williams said.

“It doesn’t matter how much money you have, it doesn’t matter how many toys you have, how many cars you have, how many houses you have, you have nothing if you lose your good name,” Lea said.

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