Dick Smith argues for the rights of Australian shoppers

Yesterday Starts At Sixty revealed that a once-loved Aussie retailer, Dick Smith electronics, is entering voluntary administration. Now the philanthropist

Yesterday Starts At Sixty revealed that a once-loved Aussie retailer, Dick Smith electronics, is entering voluntary administration. Now the philanthropist who gave Dick Smith its namesake, has weighed in on consumer rights.

71-year-old Dick Smith believes that customers of his former shop are entitled to refunds. His comments come after the current owners of Dick Smith electronics refused to honour existing gift cards and lay-by purchases, leaving many Aussie shoppers out-of-pocket just after Christmas.

“They most certainly should be refunded”, Mr Smith told newspapers. “Some of the (investors) who made a fortune out of the recent float, they should pay back those people who’ve put down deposits”.

The businessman turned philanthropist hasn’t operated Dick Smith electronics since selling it to Woolworths in 1982. However, he remains emotionally invested in the retailer’s future.

“I am proud it’s gone for 47 years and employed thousands of Australians”, Mr Smith said. “And over the years the mum and dad share holders of Woolworths have done incredibly well out of Dick Smith Electronics”.

Unfortunately, without Mr Smith’s guiding hand, the retailer has lost its appeal and is already liquidating stock. The future no longer looks so bright.

Do you believe Dick Smith customers are entitled to refunds, if they’ve bought gift cards and lay-by items? Could Dick Smith himself resurrect the brand?

  1. I agree consumer rights should be protected but I don’t remember Dick Smith saying too much when other electrical stores did the same thing.

    • Because they didn’t have his name on them and Dick is an honourable man.

      • Robyn McCarthy  

        Yes he is unlike Woolworths. Buyer beware – the next one to go down will be Masters

    • What? YOu expect him to have come out every time a business closed? This one has his name on it. He is an honest man and he speaks out at the right time.

    • Then he should have made sure when he sold it that they took his name off it. Can’t have it both ways. I think we should all speak up for consumer rights so that people don’t lose out but it should be for everything, not just because of the name on the store.

    • Dick does very often, he is a voice in the wilderness sticking up for Australian rights, unworthy criticism.

    • Sue, when he sold the business he sold the name of “Dick Smith Electronics” – that was the name of the company and that’s what Woolworths paid for. The name was probably the largest asset in the entire purchase. If Qantas or BHP were sold, I doubt the names would be changed!

    • Why would he comment on every business that folds, he had a special interest in this one that he used to own

    • Elaine Henderson  

      You are very odd Sue. Why would Dick Smith comment on businesses going out of business which are nothing to do with him?

  2. Consumer rights should be protected, and they should honour gift cards and refund lay buy deposits. Companies know when they are going under and they shouldn’t take deposits or sell gift cards knowing this. It seems so unfair, it’s always the unsuspecting customer that loses when things like this happen.

    • You’re right. You could buy something with $100 cash a little over a week ago but at the same time if you purchased a gift card it is now worthless. Employees would not have known exactly what was going on but someone did.

  3. I was always under the impression that the law made it illegal for traders to operate when they knew they could not live up to the deal – just goes to show that its true: the law really is an ass! This company continued trading when it knew there was no way it could live up to the standard and now it gets away with ripping off customers yet again! Customer protecton/consumer rights are a joke.

    • Reckless Trading is a crime punishable in law. Trading whilst insolvent is an act of bankrupcy. I hope everyone is as vocal when the Directors have to explain their actions.

  4. I’m sure he could resurrect his original business and with his own personal stamp on it again,it could become as popular as ever. I can remember the electronic kits he sold all over the dining room table while the boys had fun learning basic electronics. I’m sure he feels very disappointed that he sold his honourable name when he sold his business.

    • He’s got so many other interest now, I doubt he’d have the time let alone the inclination.

    • Too true,Judy.I think he’s way past that stage in his life. I was just remarking that he could obviously do it if he chose too. Just a shame all the bright young sparks that were employed there will not have an opportunity to work in their field anymore.

    • Like “the bright young sparks” anology!! I’m sure he could pick up the pieces if he wanted to, but maybe it’s all gone too far now. Badly managed by Woolies and finally destroyed by the current owners.

    • Ah I was wondering who they might be,and I wondered even how they could even float it when they were on the slippery slope down. What I hate is this Company who was dishonest enough to blatantly sell gift vouchers through Christmas Trading get away with it Scot free!

  5. Anonymous  

    Absolutely should be honoured

  6. Dick Smith Electronics has refused to give refunds for some time – offering a gift voucher instead very cunning on their part but despicable customer service.

    • Fortunately in NZ we have the right to get cash back and they cannot refuse to do this however hard they may try. The ads on TV last year put a lot of people off, they were offensive and many voted with their feet. It is sad to see this happen to what used to be a good company.

  7. Seems to be standard practice not to honour gift cards etc. When a local optometrist went bust in our town a local lady had paid for her glasses and was not allowed to collect them. How stupid is that, it is not like they are any use to anyone else. Probably got trashed.

  8. As long as the Apple iStores operating in this country avoid paying tax, why would you reopen? Besides the electronics business is well and truly covered.

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