With the recent news of one Dick Smith customer finding his "new" 1.5TB hard drive filled with pirated movies and a maximum capacity only a fraction of its advertised size, other customers and even former employees have emerged from the woodwork to reveal similar experiences with a number of popular retailers, including Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi.
According to these new reports, collected by the Sydney Morning Herald, the practise of refurbishing returned goods and slapping them back on the shelf and selling them as new is extremely common — to the extent it's almost considered standard policy.
The stories collated include one person buying a "new' washing machine containing water and pests; an expensive laptop that had "obviously been used" and a camera with a collection of unexpected photos. Harvey Norman rep Ben McIntosh said the company will follow up on the allegations, as well as "remind" its stores that what they're doing is against the law.
The odd thing is, employee reports indicate stores are provided all the equipment they need to engage in these unlawful activities, including cleaning materials and shrink-wrapping devices. It makes it hard to believe that upper management is totally unaware of what's going on.
The Good Guys and Bing Lee weren't keen to chat to SMH, and the paper is waiting for a response from JB Hi-Fi, if one is forthcoming at all. Apparently in the case of the used Dick Smith hard drive, the retailer simply said it was a "one-off".
The kerfuffle hasn't passed unnoticed by the government, with NSW Fair Trading set to investigate these incidents further to determine just how malignant the practise is.
Any Giz AU readers out there that have found themselves with new goods that, well, weren't? Let us know.