The livelihood of Perth-based computer retailer Info4pc.com is on the brink after its director failed to appear in a Federal Court today to fight an injunction banning its trade in cheap computers.
The motion was brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), after it was alerted to major shortfalls between info4pc.com's buying price ($1250) and the retail price to consumers ($499).
The ACCC claims that the company has 3000 customers of which only 250-300 have received PCs. Based on this information, the consumer watchdog obtained an ex parte interim injunction on January 24 banning info4pc.com from trading.
Info4pc.com complied with the order today, however the ACCC has filed a motion for contempt-of-court, saying that the company continued to trade during the injunction.
According to Info4pc.com, the cheap prices where to be subsidised by consumers agreeing to supply lifestyle information which would be collated and sold as market research. However, the Ministry of Fair Trading believes the company has provided no hard evidence displaying the viability of the scheme.
The hearing has been rescheduled for February 8. A spokesperson for Info4pc.com's solicitors, Jackson Macdonald, says there is no reason at this stage why the PC retailer would not appear to resist the application. He declined to comment on today's "no-show".
Info4pc.com general manager James Rae declined to speak to ARN but issued a statement on the company Web site pleading victimisation by the Ministry of Fair Trading.
Rae states that the constant harassment from the ACCC, Fair Trading and the media, "together with constant threats, insults and slanderous statements would have made it much easier to throw in the towel and walk away, leaving liquidators to 'eat up' [customers'] money."
Rae also denies any affiliation with a UK and Canadian operation, which left thousands of consumers out of pocket in a similar scheme late last year. Australian authorities remain unsatisfied however, having uncovered direct links between the companies including a common director, one Johnson Williamson.