Tag Archive | “Consumer”

ALDI loses battle to the death for right to open grog shop in Perth's outer suburbs.

First blood to Woolies in ALDI liquor stoush


EXCLUSIVE: Australian retail giant Woolworths has creamed German retail superpower ALDI in a toe-to-toe battle to the death for the right to erect a bottle shop in Perth’s eastern suburbs.

In a decision published online today, delegate of the state director of liquor licensing, Peter Minchin, granted Woolworths the right to build a grog shop at the new Harrisdale shops, and kicked ALDI’s competing application to the kerb.

In the green corner was Woolworths, which plans to build a standalone 188sqm grog shop offering 1623 types of alcohol.

In the orange corner was ALDI, which wanted to establish a small browsing area of about 24sqm in its new Harrisdale supermarket and will provide about 95 liquor products.

The ALDI grog shop would have been similar to Western Australia’s first in-supermarket grog shop approved for ALDI last week.

oneperth.com.au brought the city first news of that grog shop, but as is standard practice with Perth’s dying band of dinosaur news outlets, a slow-grazing business reporter at Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times who we beat to the punch by more than a week claimed her follow up as an ‘EXCLUSIVE‘.

Nobody objected to the Woolies grog shop, but a lobby group called the McCusker Cenre for Action on Alcohol and Youth objected to the ALDI bottle-o.

For hus part, Mr Minchin concluded “it is neither necessary or desirable for two packaged liquor outlets to operate at the shopping centre in order to cater to residents of the locality and their requirements for access to packaged liquor”.

He decided Woolworths would provide more benefit to Harrisdale consumers because its grog shop was bigger, provided more types of alcohol, would have better customer service, and was separate to its supermarket.

Consequently, Mr Minchin approved the Woolworths application, and refused the ALDI application.

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Unwanted Puma servo for defunct KFC thanks to sloppy city plan.

Kentucky Fried cock-up


Cockburn will get a Puma fuel station it does not want on the site of a defunct KFC restaurant thanks to poor and confusing wording in its city planning scheme.

Back in August, oneperth.com.au revealed that four objectors had forced Puma Energy – which has embarked on a major expansion into Western Australia – to scale back plans for a 24/7 fuel stop at the site of a defunct KFC restaurant at the southern gateway to Fremantle.

In a prolix approvals process that we’ve been following, Cockburn city councillors in September refused the fuel stop, planned for the corner of Carrington Street and Clontarf Road in Hamilton Hill.

Puma appealed that decision in the powerful State Administrative Tribunal, and in a recent ruling tribunal deputy president David Parry ordered that the servo be approved.

puma fuel station

Puma contended that the proposed servo was correctly classified as ‘convenience store’ under the Cockburn city plan but the council contended it was correctly classified as ‘petrol filling station’.

Judge Parry observed that the definitions for ‘convenience store’ and ‘petrol filling station’ in the Cockburn planning scheme were poorly drafted and somewhat confusing.

He determined that the proposed use should be correctly classified as ‘convenience store’, that the planned Puma met the development standards for that use, and should therefore be approved.

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First Perth grog shop approved for German supermarket giant.

ALDI trumps Euro booze myth busters


EXCLUSIVE: ALDI has received approval to open its first grog shop, at Butler in Perth’s north, despite claims from a prominent health lobby group that a supposedly superior European drinking culture where exposure to alcohol at a younger age conditions people to handle it better is an urban myth.

On Thursday, the grog shop was approved by Peter Minchin, a delegate of the state liquor licensing director.

This was despite the usual interventions by Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, the state health department and the McCusker Cenre for Action on Alcohol and Youth.

ALDI’s new liquor licence allows the retailer to have a small display area of about 30sqm within the planned supermarket.

Wines, beers, spirits, ciders and liqueurs, which will include ALDI branded products, are permitted for sale.

Also permitted are the sale of 60 different wines, 16 types of beer, 15 separate spirits and four kinds of cider.

Before Mr Minchin, the McCusker centre unsuccessfully argued the grog shop would not be in the public interest.

Generally speaking, and not with regard to ALDI in particular, the centre explained there is a commonly held, but flawed, belief that there would be benefits in moving to a “more European” approach, in which alcohol is widely available and children are introduced to alcohol at a young age which helps them learn to drink responsibly.

But, in evidence Mr Minchin acknowledged was “uncontroverted”, the centre claimed this was a myth not consistent with the available evidence.

The centre cited research showing that young people who repeatedly drank at home with their parents were more likely to report risky drinking in later adolescence than those who did not drink alcohol.

It was submitted that making more alcohol available would likely increase, rather than decrease, alcohol-related harm in Western Australia.

“It is important to also note that European countries including France, Italy and Spain experience higher rates of alcohol-related chronic diseases and road crashes than Australia,” the centre argued.

“There is also increasing concern in France for example, about binge drinking by young people.”

Mr Minchin noted that while ALDI claimed its shop would make an enormous contribution to Butler in terms of retail and infrastructure, given the small size of the grog shop and the limited range of product, the benefits to the community from the grant of the licence would not be significant.

“Whilst I acknowledge the legitimate concerns of the objector and interveners, particularly in respect of the integration of liquor within a supermarket environment, in the circumstances of this case, I am of the view that the grant of the application is in the public interest,” he concluded.

Construction is well underway on the Butler ALDI, which is rising on Butler Boulevard, and will cover about 1500sqm, with two thirds of that retail space.

oneperth.com.au drive through central Rockingham last weekend confirmed that planned outlet was already at lockup stage.

Butler already has three other supermarkets – IGA, Coles and Farmer Jacks – with a Woolworths shopping centre also proposed for Butler Boulevard.

After this story was published, ALDI got in touch to say, that with other liquor licence applications pending assessment, it had not yet decided whether ALDI Liquor would be introduced to Western Australia.

The ALDI statement said that its shops that sell liquor in eastern Australia do not carry any chilled alcohol products for immediate consumption.

This story was updated on April 26 and April 27 to clarify that the Butler shop would not be the first to open in WA, although its liquor licence is the first to be approved. Also added was some clarification around the nature of the centre’s myth busting.

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$13,000 penalty after odos of four vehicles wound back.

Car dealer fined for oldest trick in the book


A Maddington man was yesterday fined a total of $13,000 in Perth Magistrates Court for selling four cars that had their odometers wound-back, and buying and selling vehicles without a dealer’s licence.

Mohammad Momand was fined $5000 for unlicensed dealing between April 2013 and August 2014, and $2000 for each of the four cars sold with altered odometers. He was ordered to pay court costs of $9187.

Momand, who has a motor vehicle salesperson’s licence, had bought 15 vehicles and sold 14 of them on Gumtree without a dealer’s licence, in breach of the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act. His licence only allows him to sell vehicles as an employee of a licensed dealer.

Buyers of four of the cars had been misled, with the odometer readings showing fewer kilometres travelled than was the case:

  • A Holden Commodore that had travelled 214,304 kilometres had a reading of 135,000 kilometres when sold in June 2013;
  • A Ford Falcon that had travelled 199,898 kilometres had a reading of 78,000 kilometres when sold in August 2013;
  • A Holden Rodeo that had travelled 284,068 kilometres had a reading of 145,000 kilometres when sold in November 2013; and
  • A Ford Escape that had travelled 218,104 kilometres had a reading of 159,050 when sold in February 2014.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said these were serious violations from someone who was well aware of his legal obligations.

“As a licensed salesperson, Mr Momand was familiar with the licensing requirements when buying and selling vehicles for profit, but he chose to ignore the rules,” Mr Hillyard said.

“Buying and selling vehicles without a licence is a serious offence in itself, but to also sell vehicles that have false odometer readings is totally unacceptable.

“Selling cars with odometer readings showing less than the actual kilometres travelled makes the sale more attractive at the expense of the unsuspecting consumer.

“There are now many methods by which the true odometer reading of a vehicle can be established, so it’s only a matter of time before any deception is discovered and offenders will face prosecution action by Consumer Protection.”

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Consumer Protection could not be any more blunt.

‘Don’t deal with Barrack Street jeweller’


The State consumer watchdog is warning Western Australians not to deal with a Perth city jewellery store that is under investigation for allegedly failing to provide services and refund deposits.

Superfold Pty Ltd, trading as Exclusive the Gallery, operates out of the Bon Marche Arcade off Barrack Street.

The store is managed by Chris Tsoutsoulis, and his father Bill Tsoutsoulis is the store’s jewellery designer.

Consumer Protection has received numerous complaints from consumers who have paid for jewellery that Consumer Protection alleges has not been delivered.

Information has also been received that consumer property may allegedly have been misappropriated, with claims that the company has allegedly failed to return jewellery that has been left at the store for creation of new items or for repair.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said attempts to resolve the complaints had been unsuccessful despite numerous enquiries with Exclusive the Gallery.

“We warn consumers not to deal with the store until these outstanding complaints have been resolved,” Mr Hillyard said.

“Consumers who have issues with Exclusive the Gallery and have yet to contact Consumer Protection should do so immediately, so that advice can be provided as to their rights under the Australian Consumer Law.”

Photo: Khalid Mahmood, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons, attribution sharealike 3.0 unported licence.

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Novelty drink holders take a lead-laden turn to the dark side.

Darth Vader water bottles may poison kids


Darth Vader and Avengers water bottles sold at Pottery Barn Kids stores are being recalled because they may contain lead paint that could poison children.

Pottery Barn Kids says consumers should immediately stop using the water bottles, which were supplied by an outfit called Wiliams Sonoma Inc.

The bottles can be returned to a Pottery Barn Kids which is offering a refund and 20 per cent off a future purchase.

The problem is with the grey paint on the metal portion of the water bottle which may contain excess levels of lead.

If children ingest or absorb lead, they can suffer harm and sometimes permanent health effects.

The Darth Vader and Avengers water bottles were sold for 15 months – between June 2014 and September 30, 2015.

Pottery Barn Kids operates in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne.

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Another Smiggle product recalled.

Spy pen death risk


A defective toy spy pen sold nationally until September 4 is being recalled because it may kill young children.

The potentially fatal problem is with Smiggle-brand spy pens (pictured) that have a twist top lid which may become loose and release batteries.

Smiggle2If young children gain access to the pens’ batteries and ingest them, they may suffer internal burn injuries, which can result in serious illness or death.

The pens were sold across Australia at Smiggle shops, and online at simggle.com.au between April 1 and September 4.

The affected pens are:

  •  line number 471241 which sold for $4.95; and
  • “the notebook lock holographic with spy pen”, line number 405620 sold for $16.95.

Smiggle says consumers should stop using the pens immediately and return them for a refund or exchange.

In 2011, colourful Smiggle drink bottles were recalled over fears they could trap and graze users’ tongues.

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Samsung has a serious problem on its hands.

Fire risk washing machines in 8500 WA homes


A house fire in Parmelia has prompted a warning from authorities that more than 8500 fire-prone washing machines are a serious fire hazard in Western Australian homes.

A Samsung washing machine burst into flames in a Parmelia house on August 12, causing estimated damage of $5000 to the appliance and the rear of the house.

The householder detected smoke coming from the laundry and poured some water on the fire while calling 000.

Fire fighter attended and doused the blaze.

The Parmelia fire was the eighth reported in Western Australia since June 2013 believed to be started by a defective Samsung washing machine.

In December 2014 a washing machine in a Shenton Park home created a fire that caused estimated damage of $100,000. Nationally there have been 206 fires reported.

In some circumstances, moisture may penetrate the electrical connectors of the top loader washing machines, causing a fire hazard.

The models being recalled were manufactured between 2010 and 2013 and include model numbers SW75V9WIP, SW65V9WIP, SW70SPWIP, SW80SPWIP, WA85GWGIP and WA85FWWIP.

A total of 14,483 of these models were sold in WA but only 5973 have been rectified and made safe by Samsung.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe is concerned that there are still 8510 bodgey washing machines in WA homes that have yet to be fixed by Samsung.

“We urge consumers who have Samsung washing machines in their home to check the model numbers at the back of their machine or on their receipt,” Mr Newcombe said.

“Samsung are trying to locate owners of these machines but they need the help of the community to do so.”

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Clapped-out Kentucky likely to become a 6am to 10pm servo only.

Four objectors sink 24/7 Puma


Four objectors have forced Puma Energy – which has embarked on a major expansion into Western Australia – to abandon plans for a 24/7 fuel stop at the site of a defunct KFC restaurant at the southern gateway to Fremantle.

In February, after City of Cockburn town planners recommended the 24/7 Puma be approved for the corner of Carrington Street and Clontarf Road in Hamilton Hill, the council’s elected officials unanimously knocked it back.

Four objections had been lodged against the pictured Puma, with the mooted 24/7 operation being a bone of contention.

puma fuel stationThe elected officials claimed the planned fuel station was too close to houses, and being less than 200-metres from an existing United servo on nearby Winterfold Road was “unnecessary”.

Puma appealed the elected officials’ refusal in the powerful State Administrative Tribunal. After three confidential mediation sessions, the tribunal invited the council to reconsider its decision.

Now, the city’s planners have again recommended the Puma be approved, this time however with operating times of 6am to 10pm only.

If approved when the elected officials again meet on Thursday night, the Puma will be housed in the converted KFC building, along the lines described in a previous oneperth.com.au story.

The defunct KFC is in a row of shops, the last of which is the final building in Cockburn before Carrington Street becomes part of Fremantle.

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ACCC steps in to stop market concentration in Mandurah.

ALDI Coles duopoly less likely


An ALDI and Coles duopoly around the Mandurah suburb of Lakelands is less likely thanks to a ruling today by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The ACCC has announced it will not oppose the proposed acquisition by Coles Supermarkets Australia of a lease to operate a supermarket at Lakelands, after Coles accepting a court-enforceable undertaking.

The undertaking requires Coles to divest its freehold interest in a nearby development at Singleton to a purchaser approved by the ACCC within a specified period.

“The ACCC’s concerns were that the proposed acquisition would have the effect, or would be likely to have the effect, of substantially lessening competition in the local retail supermarket market surrounding the Lakelands site,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“However, these concerns was remedied by the divestiture undertaking.

“The undertaking creates an opportunity for a viable and long‑term competitor, other than Coles, to enter the local retail supermarket market.”

Coles currently operates a supermarket at Meadow Springs, within 5km of Lakelands, and owns the freehold interest in the retail site at Singleton where it had been planning to operate a supermarket.

By operating a supermarket in Lakelands, in the absence of the undertaking, Coles would be likely to operate up to three full-line supermarkets in the local retail supermarket market in the future once they are all developed.

The only other supermarket in that local market is the proposed ALDI in the Lakelands development (pictured) which is not expected to open until late 2016 at the earliest.

Render of the planned Lakelands shops: The Buchan Group Architects

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Consumers offered illegal inducement to enrol in courses.

No such thing as a free laptop


The state consumer protection agency is warning Western Australians, particularly those in remote and regional communities, about door-knockers offering ‘free’ laptops to people who sign up for courses.

Acting consumer protection commissioner David Hillyard says varying reports are being looked into and there’s a common theme that consumers are on a low-income and thought they were dealing with someone working for, or associated with, a government agency.

“Last month a number of people living in Broome were paid a visit by men they thought were offering free laptops in exchange for signing up for a training course,” Mr Hillyard said.

“Secure personal information including tax file numbers and copies of driver’s licences were taken.

“Generally, those who accepted the proposal did not receive paperwork in exchange making it very difficult for the local police or Consumer Protection to ascertain if the men are representing a training provider or if they are scammers.”

As well as complaints from the Kimberley, Consumer Protection is looking into reports from Midwest and Southwest WA regarding men knocking on doors and offering training courses, such as a diploma, with the promise of a free laptop.

“Because we’re unclear whether these men are from a legitimate organisation, we would urge people not to give secure, personal details such as tax file numbers or copies of driver’s licences, birth certificates, passports or even utility bills,” Mr Hillyard said.

“There are concerns that these consumers could be unknowingly signed up for a Commonwealth Government ‘Vocational Education and Training FEE-HELP’ loan, which is a debt that has to be repaid once your income reaches a certain level and can affect your credit rating.

“Since April, VET FEE-HELP training providers have been banned from offering enrolment inducements to students, so anyone promising a free laptop is breaking Federal Government rules around the loan-scheme and shouldn’t be trusted.”

Mr Hillyard encouraged people to do their homework before enrolling in any course.

Photo: ‘Olimpiaionele’, Wikimedia Commons 


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Perth could once rely on death, taxes and Wednesdays. But not any more.

Fuel price cycle disrupted


Service station operators have thrown a spanner in the works by mixing up their cheapest fuel day over the past two fortnights.

FuelWatch Manager Lynne Gould said that since November 2010 Wednesdays were consistently the cheapest days to buy furl in Perth.

Ms Gould said fuel stations consistently increased their prices on Thursdays, with the metropolitan average price gradually dropping to become generally cheaper again on Wednesdays.

“The cheapest day is now unknown,” Ms Gould said on the back of the fuel retailers’ erratic price fluctuations over the past two weeks.

“It appears that some brands are increasing their prices earlier in the week, with others following that lead, making the price fluctuations during the week more erratic and less predictable.

“On any particular day, some brands could have both the highest and the lowest price for fuel on sale in the metropolitan area, so motorists should check site by site, rather than shopping by brand.”

Photo: Pablo D. Flores, Wikimedia Commons

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Robomaid in the shade


Western Australia’s Consumer Protection agency is advising consumers who have ordered a Robomaid automatic vacuum cleaner and not yet received it to claim a chargeback from their credit card provider or PayPal.

Robomaid Australia, the company that has been importing the vacuum cleaners from China, has ceased to trade but has not yet appointed a receiver or liquidator.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said many consumers may be affected.

“Although only four consumers have reported not receiving their product to us, the company’s director has advised that 27 consumers have ordered the product, accessories or parts but are unlikely to receive them,” Mr Newcombe said.

“It appears the company has not fulfilled orders since early March and may not be in a financial position to offer refunds.

“Under these circumstances, we urge affected customers to claim a chargeback from their credit card provider or PayPal immediately.”

Current owners of a Robomaid may also be affected as there is no arrangement for the China-based manufacturer to process warranty claims or carry out repairs.

The Robomaid automatic vacuum cleaner was previously selling for about $600.

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Suspect condoms sold on Groupon


Condoms sold on Groupon in assorted packs that included ‘Extra Safe’, ‘Thin Feel’ and ‘Performa’ varieties are being recalled because they may be counterfeit with defects such as holes in the latex.

The suspect condoms were sold nationally by Edgelounge Enterprises Ltd, trading as Citrus Beat, between 12 March 2015 and 10 April 2015 on groupon.com.au.

Edgelounge has confessed the condoms may be counterfeit, with defects such as holes in the latex.

The company admits the condoms may not prevent pregnancy or protect users against sexually transmitted diseases, which can result in serious illness or death.

Edgelounge says consumers should not use the condoms.

The company has asked customers to destroy the condoms immediately and throw them away.

Edgelounge has stopped short of offering a refund, which is usual practice among companies that recall suspect products.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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