The ACCC Is Going After MSY Again

Image: Gizmodo

Everybody's favourite ultra-discount computer store MSY Technology has run foul of Australia's consumer watchdog, again. This time, the ACCC is targeting MSY for apparently misleading customers on their rights around refunds, replacements and warranties.

After being slapped on the wrist with a $203,500 fine for dodgy warranty practices between 2010 and 2012, the ACCC is again pursuing MSY for similar practices it claims occurred between January 2013 and February of this year.

It's saying statements made to customers on MSY's website and in some of its 28 stores around Australia claimed the cut-rate PC components supplier reserved the right to choose whether to offer customers repairs, replacements or refunds for faulty parts, and also whether it wanted to offer any remedy at all. The ACCC also alleges that MSY told customers that administration fees would be charged for warranty work.

All of these are prima facie breaches of Australian Consumer Law, which offers customers statutory rights on the quality of the goods they buy. It usually includes the right to repair, replace or refunds, and cannot be excluded by a retailer.

ACCC commissioner Sarah Court on the upcoming Federal Court proceedings against MSY: “Businesses must not mislead consumers about their consumer guarantee rights. Consumers who have purchased a faulty product have a right under the consumer guarantees to remedies which businesses cannot restrict, alter, or remove. The ACCC is particularly concerned that this type of conduct by businesses which have a national presence has the potential to cause significant consumer harm.”

Australia's competition and consumer watchdog wants an injunction against MSY's statements, penalties for the actions already taken, promises that it won't happen again, and a "comprehensive compliance program" to make sure of that fact. In its statement, the ACCC does take pains to point out that all of this has happened before, too.


Comments

    Classic MSY

      I just love their "we've slashed the prices so hard that we've even slashed the amount of words we'll speak to you" style of customer service.

        The MSY I used to go to was an old house that they cut a hole in the wall of to serve as a counter in the pickup area.

        MSY: You aren't paying for service.

          Still a step up from MSY Ipswich, that place looks like a goddamn Meth cookhouse.

            Probably doubles as a meth cookhouse, being Ipswich and all.

              Paul Pasali would declare it "a work from home victory for the Ipswich community!"

            Bet you havent seen the north melbourne store. Their door handle was actually a piece of chicken wire that has recently been upgraded to a piece of figure 8 speaker cable.

              Hahaha I never saw it anything other than the figure 8 wire. It's been so long

          This is just classic PC Master Race though, all hardware now delivered via Glory Hole.

    All we need now is for the ACCC to investigate MWAVE, they are not much better.

    I found the refunds policy very interesting with most online PC stores has a special computer cases / chassis clause as they do not come with a refund option, only exchange for the same case or in store credit but in saying that its clearly stated in the terms and conditions that people dont read.
    Iv read some previous cases regarding MSY/MWAVE and a few other stores royally screwing over the customer for a few extra $$ and some convenience multiple times.

      MWAVE are pretty expensive too.

    I've never had a problem with MSY or MWAVE.....but the one time I ordered from CPL, oh my god. I nearly got on a plane from SA to NSW (I think that is where they are based) and burned the whole place down (Burn em all I say....burn em all to hell)

      Omg same here!!!!

      The highpoint one closed down as soon as it opened! The manager was EXTREMELY rude and unprofessional. (Good looking though...)

      Son bought a video card from MSY that was failed under warranty and they replaced on the spot when he brought it back.

      I bought a 3TB HDD from CPL, took it back when it failed a few months into the 3 year warranty. They said it would have to go back to manufacturer and would take 3 weeks to have a replacement returned by manufacturer. Absolutely refused refund or replacement from their stock even when shown ACCC brochures specifying these entitlements.
      Took 6 weeks to get my replacement drive.

      They must have influence somewhere as ACCC and Consumer Affairs Vic were not interested!

    They'd ask MSY for a comment, but couldn't get them to pick up the phone...

    "MSY, where customer service is as absent as the visas for our 'employees'..."

    Last edited 01/12/16 4:00 pm

      I know right?! They have never once answered the phone when I tried to call! Not that I do it often, but over the years, I've tried on numerous occasions, and never once had them answer!

      I had an aussie guy in the slacks creek store

        I don't care what nationality they are, they can be martian for all I care, but I do know MSY has a reputation for hiring people who outstay their working visas in the past.

    They still have that horrible website my webdesign teacher moaned and groaned about haha. Never used them just for that alone.

      Best website on the internet mate. With the PDF price list? Those were the days.

        Still the PDF price list. The days are still with us.

        Regards

      For our web design course we had to choose a bad website on the internet to fix, but were prohibited from using MSY's site as the entire class from the year before did it.

    I never had any issues with MSY.. But let's take a step back and think about this for a second.. what if MSY goes belly up? We will lack the no-frills get in get out cheap PC parts we have enjoyed for as long as I could remember!

    Also, this will give rise to other PC parts stores to start upping their price slightly

      There's been plenty of those stores, plenty of them, for years. MSY wasn't the first and only one. Don't kid yourself.

        Indeed. I'm lucky I have umart, msy, gamedude and computer alliance all fairly close by. 90% of the time I'd go umart just for convenience sake. Prices are always on par with msy. Only time I got to MSY is when they are the only ones who have what I want, and that's rare.
        Having said that, I've never had issues with them when I've bought stuff from them thankfully. just lucky I guess, but their service does suck donkeys balls

          Umart, south side brisbane, has never done me wrong. They are always prompt, pleasant, and cooperative. Night and day with my few msy experiences. Shame their new website is ass.

            Yep. Eight Mile Plains store is the one I'm referring to :) Agree that the new website is a bit ass, but it does have some nice features. Good filtering options at least

          Gamedude were complete arse when I used them when it came to service or warranty/repair.

            yeah I've had many a bad experience with gamedude myself. They have improved a little since the early days, but not by much. They still fight you on everything when it comes to warranty. They too are one of those places I only go when they're the only ones who have what I want

              hehe early days, I am going to bet that your early days were a blessing compared to mine with them. When i first dealt with gamedude they were in a little shop in the back corner of a complex at rochedale and i was there to see my physio

                heh yeah that's exactly the days to which i was referring. having to line up for an hour + outside the store just to get served. Their prices were the only reason I put up with their bullshit, cos at the time, there was nobody else who even came close. So glad we have more options now!

      There are loads more computer stores that can easily fill the void, MSY is lower than pond scum. I would laugh my ass off if they went under. Been fucked over by them too many times.

      Considering that Newegg now ships to Australia for fairly cheap (although Warranty is an issue), and Amazon will soon have distributors in Australia, I think we'll be fine as long as we're patient. When the hard drive dies and we absolutely need one now, that's when we're going to be stuffed.

        Screw amazon, i ordered a video card through them (and it was direct from them not from a reseller) that they didn't put the cost on so it got stopped in the US customs and sent back to them, they tried blaming me for it being stopped and when it was time to resend it back to me claimed not to have any in stock so my option was to wait 3 months or have a refund which would leave me out of pocket due to exchange rate

    It's not often I get to read through the comments to find they are utterly devoid of disagreement but instead unified.

    MSY - Bringing people together.

    MSY sales attendants have terrible customer service most of the time but chat them about nerdy things and they can go on for a while.

    Good, they refused to refund my faulty Thermaltake PSU I got from them that destroyed two of my motherboards, costing me 2-3 months of my life in waiting for RMAs. They said they can only replace it despite that I bought it from them only 6 months ago, I already replaced it with a Corsair from CPL, now it runs like a dream, never looked back since. I just took it as a lesson, that was the first and only thing I bought from MSY and I'm keeping it that way.

    Last edited 01/12/16 4:24 pm

    They refused to refund or replace a faulty razer deathadder mouse at the Ultimo store last year. Less than one year since purchase. I complained on Facebook, which achieved very little other than connecting me with other disgruntled customers. Not worth the small saving.

      The one time I purchased a faulty product from them (a hard drive), they exchanged it on the spot no problem once they tested it themselves. Ultimo store.

      I buy pretty much all my PC parts from them, and have done so for years, and that's the only time I've ever had an issue.

        That's great and all, but the fact is they wouldn't refund or replace a broken, in-warranty mouse. I expect companies to comply with consumer law all the time, not at their whim. I'm certainly not going to buy an expensive product from them.

    MSY are the soup nazis of computer electronics. That said they're the best in Canberra by a long mile, your only real alternative is to buy off VIC/NSW website and have it shipped

      Best in Canberra? When the store is actually attended?

      Place is the pits. Back in 10 sign on the door when I called and said I was on Tennant Street. Dude came back 50 minute later.

      Or should I say. Took the sign off the door and unlocked it. He was there the whole time. Half a dozen people outside waiting. There are heaps cheaper alternatives down south at the hyper dome and the ANU.

      I hate to ask... but do you work at MSY?

        No I don't work there.

        Any specific suggestions of some places around ANU would be appreciated.

    I went in for an interview for MSY not too long ago for a technical role. As soon as I got there, they said that the position was filled, but a SALES position was available, yay.

    They asked me technical questions like what's the latest intel socket, what's the difference between an active and passive cable, and one other question that made me question THEIR knowledge.

    The interviewer said, "Imagine a client has an issue, where he owns two properties 2 kilometers apart. He has internet setup at one of those properties, but not the other. How does he share the internet with the other property?".

    I said, "with a fibre optic cable and switches".

    He said I was wrong, that the answer was POWER OVER ETHERNET.

    It only clicked that he was talking about powerline ethernet adaptors, which I automatically doubted could reach 2 kilometers.

    Then he said the position was casual, $16.90 per hour for a 3 month probation period. Not sure if that's legal (I'm 29). So I turned it down.

      It only clicked that he was talking about powerline ethernet adaptors, which I automatically doubted could reach 2 kilometers.

      You're right they don't; they are meant for using a house's electrical wiring as the ethernet connection.

      I used to use them at our old place because we rented and couldn't install ethernet cables.

      On top of that, the grade of the wiring and how the house is wired also affects the speed and if it is even possible to use them. In general, if the points are not on the same circuit somehow they often don't see each other.

      But even if they worked over a long distance there is one other problem; anyone an snoop on the connection unless the devices are set up to use encryption but again requires a strong connection in the first place.

      So yeah, those who were interviewing you; unless they were thinking of something else and just got their terms wrong they were just talking nonsense.

      Dodged a bullet there Jiggle. Pay is just wrong, shop assistants are covered by an award and that isn't part of it.

    I had a funny one back in 2012. Bought a PSU and case from MSY and a CPU and Motherboard from CCPU. The PSU and the Motherboard were faulty. Weird coincidence (and before you ask, they were installed in different computers and I fully tested them)

    Took the PSU back to MSY and said "It's faulty". They said "that never happens" but they installed it in a test system, no power at all. Said "alright, here's another". Quick and easy.

    Went straight to CCPU after that. The moment I walked in the door carrying the motherboard they looked angry. I took it to one of the guys and said "It's faulty". He said "no it's not. We've never sold a faulty item ever"

    He takes one look at the motherboard and says "you broke it. It's broken. We showed you it and tested it with you before you bought it and you saw it worked. You took it home and broke it". I said "what? You just sold it to me. Who tests a motherboard with the customer before selling it?"

    The guy started screaming at me. Really angry. "you broke it, you broke it". Eventually after a lot of yelling he said "we'll send it back to the manufacturer to see if they can fix it but they probably can't". Ended up giving him my phone number. A few weeks later he calls me up and leaves a voice mail saying "Mr James (not my name btw), I can confirm that the video card you wanted is in stock. Please come in as soon as possible"

    In the end I just gave up on them. Really should have reported them but I ended up going to Mwave and ordering a new MB from them.

    Oddly enough I haven't had a bad experience from Mwave yet but I've heard the stories and I fully expect to have a bad experience some time soon if I ever order from them again. (they're usually overpriced anyway)

      The main thing that bugs me with Mwave is that there's a surcharge on pretty much any payment method when you order, don't think you can just pay when you pick up.

    The Malvern store in Vic is great - open 10-5, except when the dude behind the counter decides to go and have a break for an hour or two.

    I'm surprised no one's mentioned Gamedude (scum of the earth). Let me apologise in advance for the long post, but I'm going to detail an issue that was the final straw for me.

    Many moons ago I used to buy PC parts from there, until the day I bought an AMD/ATI 4850 which had artifacting issues. I tried to return/replace it, at which point they told me that they would test it themselves, and that if they found nothing wrong with it they would charge me $50 (I learnt after the fact that doing that is basically illegal). I told them everything that I had done, my testing procedures, and that I was almost positive the card was defective. In return they said me, "we get people like you come in here all the time claiming that something isn't working properly when they really have no idea what they are doing" (yeah, that's basically word for word what was said to me).

    I went ahead, being absolutely sure that there was a problem with it (I had already tested other video cards, and was positive that the issue lay with this 4850), and lo and behold they told me there was nothing wrong with the card and went ahead and charged me the money (I didn't know any better at the time, so I just paid it - but I was beyond pissed off).

    I took the card back home and installed it in my PC where it continued to have artifacting issues (little random colourful squares on the screen for those of you not familiar with it). Being meek, I didn't bother to go back to Gamedude about the problem again, so I just ended up getting a 9800GTX+ from another company, which gave me no problems whatsoever.

    Almost a year goes by, and in the meantime I had the 4850 sitting in its box in the corner of the room. I knew that it was *supposed* to have 12 months warranty on it, so instead of letting that lapse, I worked up the courage to back to Gamedude and demand that they do something about the issue (I had retested the card just to make sure that it definitely had the issue, which of course it did). This time I went there armed with information that I found on the internet, about how that specific manufacturer had admitted to assembling a bad batch of cards with memory issues (which could possibly cause artifcating).

    I told them that I had been in there almost a year before, and that I had received no help from them and that they had charged me $50 for a card that I knew was faulty. They went through the same spiel of how if there was nothing wrong that they would charge me again. Except this time they finally admitted that there was a problem, and that they would send it off to the manufacturer for a replacement. When I questioned them about my previous experience, and how I had been charged (and that I wanted my money back), they simply told me, "there is no evidence that this problem was occurring back then, nothing we can do for you".

    When the replacement finally came in, I tested it in my PC and it worked perfectly, no more artifacting (surprise, surprise). By then I was happy with the GTX9800+ (and I'm pretty sure it was more powerful, too), so I ended it up shelving the 4850 as a spare and eventually gave it to my brother when his graphics card bit the dust one day (it didn't go to waste in the end).

    But the moral of this long winded story is this: DON'T EVER USE GAMEDUDE! I also went on to work for a large wholesaler of computer parts many years later, and found out first hand from some of the people who worked there, both in sales and the from they guy who did the deliveries to the retailers, that the owner of Gamedude was just a downright arrogant, rude, and despicable human being. If you are someone who goes to Gamedude from time to time, I would highly suggest taking your business somewhere else (I could tell you about other issues I had with Gamedude, but I've already gone on long enough with this story alone).

    I've always found Umart to be excellent - they couldn't have been more helpful when I needed to return a faulty monitor that was almost at the end of its 3 year warranty. I have continued to use them on their excellent support alone. I never went back to Gamedude - they lost my business all on account of not wanting to help me replace a fairly inexpensive graphics card.

    I can't wrap my head around how stupid a company like Gamedude can be. All you need to do is help people with genuine problems and they will continue to use your services, but if you screw them around and treat them like morons (and CHARGE THEM MONEY to test a component) then you aren't going to have them come back to your store and continue to buy products. It's not rocket science! I don't know how they are still in business, to be honest.

      Agreeing with the scum of the earth comment.

      Many years ago I bought a 21" Mitsubishi CRT. Got it home, doesn't turn on. Took it back the next day as a DOA - nope, they wouldn't accept it. Instead, they said to go directly to the manufacturer. I wish I knew more about my rights back then ...

      Years back (nearly a decade now actually) I bought an AMD CPU and a motherboard from there. Took it home, wouldn't boot, mobo wouldn't work with a different CPU. Took it back, Gamedude told me they weren't going to help and it was my problem. Turns out that the mobo had a bug that would cause it not to boot with that particular series of CPUs and would need to be flashed with a new BIOS to fix it. Gamedude still didn't give a shit despite now selling a board not fit for purpose.

      Incidentally stopped using AMD CPUs that day too.

        heh my parents bought some ram from them years ago, and it didn't work. My parents know barely anything about computers.
        When they got to the store, the guy at the counter said he wouldn't replace it because they'd tried to install the ram backwards.............
        Now, as stated, my parents know fuck all about computers, but my mum looked him in the face, looked at the ram, and said "You must be shitting me right? There's an offset notch so you CAN'T install it backwards. I might not know much about computers, but I'm not fucking stupid"
        They replaced it ;)

    I think it depends who is serving you. There was one guy at MSY Auburn who had the worst customer service. He's now at MSY Ultimo last I saw him. The Auburn guys have been great the last few times I've been there.

    I'd like to see them look into centrecom, I have literally never got anything from them where they havnt had the wrong price listed resulting in me needing to argue with them to make them honor their advertised prices.

      Report them, then. That is always the first step for these processes. ACCC is really active, but can only act when someone files a claim.

    been using them for years, no issues ever, must have got lucky

      MSY is only good if you know exactly what you want and have the good fortune not to receive a DOA part. Trying to do anything customer service related, especially an RMA is just impossible with them

    Reckon I've spent close to 10k there over the years, 4 major builds.

    I don't go there for advice, I go there for competitive local pricing and as mentioned above to talk geek in the rare periods when they are quiet.

    When they go for the 'hold on to your receipt' spiel, at the completion of a purchase I usually cut them off and say 'Don't worry, I know my rights as a consumer'.

    I've been going to MSY Malvern and Clayton for as long as I can remember, very rarely had a problem.

    I find that the customer service has actually improved at Clayton over the years - atleast what I've witnessed - and now they list stock levels on the (really crappy) website you can kind of build your list before going in store to collect.

    I had one experience that I thought I'd share: I bought one of those acer windows tablets for $99 a few years back, 10 months in the screen failed and I didn't have a reciept or anything.

    I sent them an email with the range of dates and my serial number. After a day or so I get a mail back telling me to come grab a physical reprint of the invoice.. worked out pretty well.

    They're a cut price mob, but yeah hope the ACCC gives em hell for code breaches - they pulled some crap with LCD's a few years back too..

    I generally use staticice.com.au , happy to pay a few more $'s and avoid MSY like the plague. There is no redeeming qualities to this company what so ever.

    When you go cheap, expect cheap ways of getting out of offering proper and correct service. We've been in business 12 years and we're not cheap but we do offer the correct refunds/returns/warranties as required by law.

    Meh, ive been buying there since they opened. Mostly the Ultimo store. Many years. Had to talk warranty twice, both times no more drama than arriving and swapping the item for another...so stressful...not. Ive also had no issues with customer service, they even surprised me once by calling me after id left to say that the stock they'd been waiting for and id been after had just arrived, the truck was delayed but had just turned up. I'd only gone 500m and went back and grabbed the gear.

    I buy a lot of stuff from MSY over the years. Prices are fair and keep other PC retailers prices competitive. I also buy parts from other stores nearby. Being in Western Australia there are limited options if you want to go to a physical store. The store I go to had a recent tidy up and looks good for a discount store. The only issue I have had with them is that they NEVER pick up the phone, I mean what is the point of putting a phone number on your website and never answering the phone! At least they answer emails. As for warranty I have only returned a couple of items and they refunded with no issues. I think each store has their own standards and don't think we say that each store is the same. There probably needs to be a penalty for them and bigger fine if they do it again (put them on notice) but if fine is too big you risk them going bankrupt and every consumer would be affected with no chance of warranty returns... so please consider this ACCC!

    i called one day and after a while i asked if No i dea was working today. they replied i will just check

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