16 Jun 2012

Ripoff report

Peter Robins writes:

I enjoyed reading your piece on Hard Core Collection very much, but would like to pose another scenario to you.
Our Church was in need of a new data projector lamp. Expensive beasties, so I went looking on the web.
Found a Victorian company, Buffalo Technology Systems, trading as 66 North Pty Ltd Unit 1, 11 Pilgrim Crt Ringwood Vic 3134 Australia, web address

They had the cheapest price, I placed an order and paid by credit card. (I have also kept all email and hard copy records of this transaction.)


Lamp was delivered, wrong lamp. Emailed dealer with photo of old lamp and incorrect replacement side by side. Dealer said “Very sorry, my mistake, will send correct lamp.”

Waiting, waiting, no lamp arrives, contact dealer again by email, he replies “It was sent.” (Great customer service in that reply!) I phoned him, he hung up in my ear.

Now I know something is seriously wrong.


Forced to buy a lamp from another supplier, so spent double the money.
Long story short, I took it to VCAT (Vic Civil & Administrative Tribunal), won an order against him.
Served the order by registered mail, no response.
Rang him, no response.
Rang VCAT again to ask what to do.

They said, “You can get a bailiff to go to his office and collect goods to be sold to recover the money, but the trick is to be able to prove the company owns the goods and they’re not under an ownership retention until sale contract with the manufacturer/agent. At the end of the day, there’s no way of proving that and the bailiff may not be able to do anything.”

I said, “What happens then?” He says, “Go home and cry in your beer.”

Bottom line, the dough is gone down the tube, I’ve spent all this time, effort and money trying to recover a proven debt, I’m too far away to collect the debt and hassle the guy myself, and a $450 debt isn’t worth throwing good money after bad, even though I’ve won.

Trouble is, for a small Church of around 120 people, it’s a pretty big loss.

I’ve thought of sending emails to all his clients that I can find (He advertises that he sells to schools and government departments on his website), and tell them what a cheating scumbag he is, but that still won’t recover the money.

Do you or your contacts have any realistic way I might exact payment from this tool? (Other than getting the illustrious Mr Gatto involved that is)

* CX emailed Buffalo prior to publishing this.


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