In a further negative sign, Dick Smith chief executive Nick Abboud stepped down yesterday. He has been replaced in the interim by former David Jones senior executive Don Grover.
Dick Smith launched a store on auction site Trade Me in December 2014 which allows Trade Me members to shop with the electronics retailer using their existing accounts. Following Dick Smith’s heading into receivership, a number of these customers have taken to Facebook to complain about items purchased through the Trade Me portal which have not arrived and subsequent lack of communication.
Trade Me head of trust and safety Jon Duffy says that like others, Trade Me was surprised and concerned to hear Dick Smith had gone into voluntary administration.
“As soon as we became aware of the news, Dick Smith’s ability to sell goods on the site was restricted to prevent any on-going sales that may not have been honoured,” Duffy says.
He says Trade Me is aware of a small number of sales dating from before Christmas where the goods have not been delivered. Trade Me is actively working on these: “Our non-delivery investigators are looking at these trades at the moment, and will be working with Dick Smith to ensure the items are delivered, or will work with them to help organise a refund.”
Dick Smith is seeking to trade as usual following the announcement, but customer backlash is making this a difficult proposition. Consumer NZ has labeled shopping online with Dick Smith as “risky”, and the company has weathered criticism after receivers James Stewart, Jim Sarantinos and Ryan Eagle announced that the store would not honour vouchers, deposits and deliveries.
An expert in receiverships, liquidations and administration spoke to The Register about the situation but chose to be anonymous due to commercial sensitivity. He says, contrary to Consumer NZ, that shoppers can now expect a high level of assurance in trading with Dick Smith as receivers are personally liable for any transactions which occur following their appointment.
“[Customers] are no longer trading with Dick Smith Electronics, they’re trading with Dick Smith Electronics in receivership.”
He confirmed that the receivers had done nothing wrong in deciding against honouring vouchers, deposits and deliveries, and pointed out that the receivers were required to act in the best interests of secured creditors – not anyone else.
“Whenever a big traditional company goes into receivership or liquidity there are always disaffected people. It’s how it is.”