Controversial Perth-based computer retailer Info4pc.com has been blocked from advertising and accepting orders for computers and upgrades after an Adelaide Federal Court ruled that the company had failed to deliver on its promise to provide cheap PCs.
The motion was brought against Info4pc.com by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which obtained an ex parte interim injunction. There will be a further hearing on January 31 in the Perth Federal Court.
According to the ACCC, Info4pc.com was offering basic computer packages at $299, primarily over the Internet. The price was later raised to $499 but, to offset the low price, buyers agreed to provide personal lifestyle information by completing a questionnaire every month for two years. This information was then collated and sold as market research.
Investigations reveal that the computers cost Info4pc.com $1250 and that income from sales of market information would be inadequate to meet this cost. The ACCC alleges more than 3000 consumers have already paid for their computers, with most yet to receive the goods.
Authorities in the UK and Canada have investigated similar schemes with direct links to Info4pc.com in Australia. The UK and Canadian schemes dissolved in late 2000, leaving thousands of consumers out of pocket. All the companies share a common director, Johnson Williamson.