MSY Fined $750,000 For Misleading Warranties, Again

Image: Gizmodo

Cut-rate computer parts retailer MSY has been slapped with a $750,000 fine from the Federal Court for misleading customers on their rights around warranties. What's worse than a $750,000 fine? The fact that this isn't even the first time this has happened.

The ACCC case against MSY is the second time the retailer, which operates 28 stores around the country, has been in the crosshairs -- in 2012, MSY was fined $203,500 for is deceptive warranty practices.

In both email responses to customers and in person, MSY admitted to the Court it had misled customers on their rights under Australian Consumer Law for products that developed faults. ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard is appropriately blunt in her statement on the matter: ""MSY has misrepresented consumers' rights to a repair, replacement, or a refund where a product developed a fault. Businesses must ensure their refund and returns policies, and any representations accurately reflect their obligations under consumer law."

As well as the $750,000 fine, MSY has agreed to be put through a comprehensive training program on the ACL, to publicise its failings, and to pay $50,000 of the ACCC's court costs.

MSY, which bills itself as "the name you can trust" when it comes to buying PC components, laptops and other computing accessories, is well known for its ultra-budget website, its PDF price lists of stock and the abruptness of its counter staff. [ACCC]

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Comments

    It's the soup-nazi of computer stores.
    I like its ultra-budget website, its PDF price lists of stock and the abruptness of its counter staff.

      You like the abruptness -- and that's a word I used carefully -- of its counter staff? :)

        Yeah, I do!
        The abruptness tends to keep the tire-kickers and noobs out of my way.
        Work out what you want. Queue. Order. Leave.

        It's the only place where I would want this sort of 'customer service' though!

          Yes, I agree with you 100% for your reasoning and regarding this business. Know what you want and get in and get out. Personally, I've generally not had a problem with warranty issues being sorted swiftly. One exception regarded an older model, yet newly purchased motherboard which failed after a few days. Waited a few weeks for a response and was offered a different brand motherboard and also newer ram to work with it.

          Anecdote time: Not only are the store personnel surly at times, the customers can be, too. Was in line behind a legend of Australian cricket one time. He happened to have laptop open and when got to the counter demanded someone fix it as it wasn't booted. They responded that it was a software issue and to go away which infuriated legend.

          As legend was storming out of the store I said "Hi, are you (insert legend name here)? what seems to be the proble........" in an attempt to assist him with the corrected master boot record.

          I received a nasty response, too as I was cut off mide-sentence. So I let him walk away. Shame it would have only taken a few lines at the CMD prompt to most likely get him going again.

          If you don't know what you want, Harvey Norman sales staff will be quite happy to sell you whatever makes them the most commission

          None of the stores in my area (northern suburbs of Melbourne) are that great. It's either overpriced rubbish brands sold as premium products or bare bones service. I don't think MSY is different to anyone else regarding warranties. And all add a surcharge for credit card payments. I buy as much as possible from ebay now. It's cheaper and covered by ebay. If a US-style computer store opened here they'd make a fortune.

    Hmmm, know your rights I guess.
    That said, I've had nice experiences in both Ultimo and Hurstville stores.

      yeah. i dont get the weird internet thing where everyone claims MSY are hard to deal with. I've been going to Ultimo for years and they have always been nice and helpful.

        Yeah, it's basically turned into an Aussie meme. There have definitely been many employees over the years that have been terrific. Even back in the 90s when they were just one store in Malvern... and I was just some loser primary school kid who made my dad drive me there, there weren't any issues dealing with them. Or with sorting out warranties.

        Now that said, obviously people HAVE had issues, otherwise there wouldn't be a fine in place, however it's not a universal thing.

        I've had a pretty similar experience (at least in the last few years) with the Strathpine branch. For a little while they had a really young guy (looked 16ish) who was a cowboy when it came to tech support (damaging cables when removing them etc) but for the most part they've been good on service and support.

        And they've literally been displaying the consumer rights information in a print out in the shop window and at the counter. It's pretty much impossible to miss. Makes me wonder if this is all just one or two stores that are causing the problem since it's obviously not all of them.

    Really wish MSY would die out. They are a scummy company preying on ignorance. Almost every item i have purchased from them has been faulty and when i go back asking for a refund they refuse. I only actually get a refund when i threaten ACCC. Nearly got into a punch on with the manager at Pascoe vale because he refused a refund.

    Shoutout to pascoe vale MSY, All your staff need to remove the long cylindrical object from their rectums.

      A lot of the budget PC parts retailers are the same - happy to push stuff at low prices, but as soon as there's a problem they'll do everything they can to weasel out of following ACL.

      Not sure if it's any different now, but in the mid-2000s Gamedude in Brisbane was the same. I end up going to a store that's (marginally) more expensive because I've never had any issues with faulty returns.

        They achieve those low prices but scrimping on everything else. Hence why im happy to buy from places like PCCG who are more expensive, But have great customer service.

          These days I'm am virtually PCCG only. They're cheap maybe not the cheapest but good, excellent service, fast delivery. Customer for life.

      I've been purchasing stuff from the Ultimo and Auburn stores for many years now and have basically had no issues. The one time I did buy something that was faulty (a hard drive), I took it back the next day, they tested it and after confirming that yes it was indeed faulty, exchanged it on the spot.

      Obviously they have done something wrong, hence this pretty big fine, but I'm just saying in my experience I've never really had issues with them.

    And I thought CentreCom were bad. In my area there is only CentreCom and MSY for computer parts.

    For obvious reasons I buy exclusively from ScorpTech. Haven't had a problem yet.

    [Knocks knuckles on wooden desk]

      Have you tried PCCG? Their prices are a bit more expensive but the Customer Service is 11/10, At least in my experience anyway.

        Yeah, too bad you can't just rock up and buy something. You used to be able to at one of their old stores, but everything needs to be ordered in advance now.

      I've had good experiences with the Sunshine CentreCom. However another one of their stores had me dealing with the misrepresenting of consumer rights. "You have to go directly to the manufacturer." It was interesting because until I thoroughly demonstrated I knew my rights, they didn't back down. Then afterwards from the conversation they seemed to have 100% been aware of the common issue my item had and the consumer rights for a refund.

    For the people saying they're great to deal with... You don't get nearly a million in fines for being great to deal with...

      I agree. Obviously there are many things wrong with MSY.
      All I'm saying is that My experience has been great. Perhaps I'm lucky?

      You get nearly a million in fines by sometimes telling fibs that you shouldn’t.
      I’ve never had a problem with anything I’ve bought there, I’ve mostly had no issues with their service, and if I did have a problem with a return or repair, I’m smart enough to know my rights, and be one of the people who complain to Fair Trading. But I haven’t had to.maybe I’m just lucky.
      It’s not the same as reading a health department review that say they found chicken just sitting on a floor, or roaches.

        Well no, obviously it isn't the same as chicken being left on the floor - because that's a public health issue.

        But OP's point was that there clearly are systemic issues where MSY were misleading people about their consumer rights - and whether the customers were ignorant of said rights is irrelevant. We shouldn't defend shitty business practices by saying "Oh but my experience was great! If they did that to me, I'd just complain!" Not only that, but this is the second time they've been hauled up by the ACCC.

        Read the ruling - MSY deliberately attempted to insert terms into their T&C that ran contrary to ACL. Some stores made oral or email statements denying remedies set out by ACL to customers who were entitled to those remedies. Personal experiences are irrelevant. The relative knowledge of the customer is irrelevant. MSY deliberately (and probably knowingly, if they back down when threatened) attempted to misrepresent a consumer's rights under ACL. There's no defence or mitigation here.

          Exactly, Customers not being aware of consumer laws does not mean you as a buisness are free to break them.

    Still remember there was once I walked into the Ultimo store 20 mins before their advertised close time of the day. There were only 2 people there waiting to be served and the guy literally and physically pushed me out of the store saying they were closing and the advertised time was not right.

    Also, the Kingsford storekeeper is worse than useless as 5 out of 5 times I went there to buy accessories he just throwing boxes here and there for 1 min then saying he couldn't find it and tell me to go to Ultimo. Note the the website said the items are in stock.

    Last edited 25/10/17 5:38 pm

      If he actually laid a hand on you, you should have threatened to have him charged with assault. Nobody has the right to lay their hands on another person without permission, no matter how minimal the force.

        I'm pretty sure that's not quite how the law works, but anyway.

    Let's be honest no-one goes to MSY for their service or for their general customer experience. I generally buy from more reputable places like the few that have been mentioned here (PCCG, mwave etc). Having said that when my boot drive blows out and I need one *now* to get back up and running, I'll run into their store to buy an SSD.

    Always had good experiences with the South Aus based stores. Bought heaps of gear from them over the years, only issue I had was when I bought a motherboard that died within a few days, took it back, they tested it then and there to replicate the fault and handed me a replacement. Same fault with the replacement so again they tested and handed me another new one. However the 2nd time the staff discussed what could be the root of the issues as he felt it was strange they kept failing. He ended up finding that the MB was shorting somewhere on my PC case. Instead of selling me a new case, he offered me a spare old case of his own which solved all the problems! That was about 5 years ago, I'm still using it to this day!

    Never had any problems with MSY, bought heaps of stuff and never had anything to return, though.
    Disagree with the staff being "abrupt" - perfect mix of friendly, informed and efficient, in my experience. Brendale, Queensland.

      You do realize stores exist outside of Brendale QLD? Your positive experience does not invalidate the numerous bad experiences

    Everyone says that shopping at MSY is like going to the Soup Nazi - know what you want, get in, get out. But whenever I have been there they have been extremely slow serving customers, very long wait.

    How has Umart now got a mention here?

    I prefer the sales process of MSY to the old now defunct computer store chains.
    The old stores you would go in wanting one part and they would hold you up trying to upsell you. MSY it's in and out. I can understand why non-tech people would hate MSY though.

    Why is this on the current feed again? I'm getting deja vu from 2016 reading this.

    MSY is where I go when I don't have the money for a trip to Hong Kong, and want the authentic HK abrupt shopping experience :)

    When amazon arrives next year they would all be in bad shape.

    MSY isn't the place for service or a friendly smile. I've not had a problem before with them because I just pay the $100 for them to put together my PC from the parts I order. It's not because I can't put it together (just follow the manuals), it's because I know as they are putting it together, if they run into a faulty part, they will just pick one off the shelf immediately and I never have to deal with the problem.

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