A FREMANTLE furniture retailer who appears to have gone bust has been blocking the Facebook accounts and mobile phones of customers trying to claim goods they’d already purchased.
Consumer Protection confirmed to the Herald this week they’d received a number of complaints about The Warehouse Fremantle.
“When officers visited the store on December 5, it appeared to be closed and we are in the process of trying to contact the owner to confirm the situation,” commissioner David Hillyard told the Herald.
“In the meantime, we urge consumers who have outstanding orders, are in possession of gift cards or are owed money by the store to contact Consumer Protection by email email@example.com or by calling 1300 30 40 54.”
Mr Hillyard said those who’d paid by credit card should contact their bank as soon as possible to claim a chargeback.
One of the store’s disgruntled customers, Graeme, bought a $3000 jarrah table while holidaying in Fremantle about a month ago.
“We came across the table there and we paid a deposit on it, and on November 1 Mandy [Graeme’s wife] finished paying the rest of the amount and he told us it would be shipped out within the next four days or so,” the Victorian told the Herald, adding they also paid $350 for shipping costs.
“And then Mandy’s called them back and he said it missed a truck this time and would go on the next truck out.”
He said for a while they tried to contact the owner, Shane McCrae, by phone but it would ring out, and then he simply blocked them. They got through to the company’s Facebook page but were blocked, and now that page has been taken offline.
Others reported similar problems: “They had a table of mine for sale, heard nothing for months so thought I would call, table was gone,” an anonymous Google reviewer posted on Tuesday.
“When I asked where it was they told me it sold the day before? Sure thing. Now they have my money for the table and are ignoring all my attempts of communication, shop is never open, looks like they are going to go bust with everyone’s money in their pockets.”
Another reported buying $2000 worth of furniture late November which never got delivered.
Mr Hillyard said consumer should try to protect themselves from too much risk by not paying large deposits and never paying ‘upfront’.
He said it was rare for customers to get anything back when a business went bust because they were last in the line after employee wages, taxes and secured creditors.
The Herald tried several times to contact Mr McCrae but couldn’t get through.
by STEVE GRANT and SEAN HILL