Empire falls to public pressure
- 22 April, 1998 13:52
Empire Systems, the much-publicised Sydney-based reseller, remains alive after going under voluntary administration, but has been branded an "unfair trader". Additionally, its directors face permanent bans in a court case brought by the Australian Securities Commission.
Empire Systems has come under public scrutiny recently with television and radio reports targeting the reputedly suspect dealings of the computer reseller. These involve the sale of faulty computers, non-delivery of hardware and software, poor after-sales service and delays in warranty repairs.
The Australian Securities Commission is undertaking court action to have the directors of Empire Systems, Royeh and Mirza Rohani, permanently banned from managing corporations. In 17 previous businesses, the Rohanis have failed on 15 occasions.
Irene O'Brien, media officer for the Australian Securities Commission, isn't deterred by Empire's voluntary move to administration.
"That doesn't effect what we're doing; we'll still be pressing ahead with the banning orders," she said.
The Department of Fair Trading has named Empire Systems as an unfair trader and has taken the step of warning consumers not to buy computers from the company.
For customer Richard Gordon it's all too late. His four-month dealings with Empire involved numerous uncontactable service providers, incorrect replacement parts and next-day promises that never eventuated.
His non-performing system has taken nearly four months to be repaired: "I picked up the system on January 22 and it is only getting fixed now," he said.
Gordon was attempting to get a full refund from Empire at the time of its move into voluntary administration, but his steady stream of correspondence went unanswered.
Another dissatisfied customer seeking a refund at the time of Empire's folding was teacher Chris Brannen. His $3000 system has not run satisfactorily for "over a year", and his dealings with Empire also met with countless false promises and no action. Brannen was told on several occasions by Empire that the faults were caused by the software.
Empire Systems sent out explanatory letters to each of its customers last week and, but officials could not comment on the outcome of the administrator's report.