Non-delivery and no refund raise alarms about online retailer
WA Consumer Protection is sounding the alarm over a national online retailer which has attracted a large number of complaints over non-delivery of goods and failure to refund.
Since January 2022, complaints from over 100 Western Australian consumers have been received against Tasmania-based company Steel & Water Pty Ltd, trading as Home Appliances Plus (unregistered), with consumers claiming they owed more than $27,000. Numerous complaints have also been received by other agencies across Australia.
Consumers had ordered goods from the company’s website www.homeappliancesplus.com.au but many items were not delivered and requests for refunds were ignored. The website offers a wide range of items, including appliances, heaters/air conditioners, housewares, lighting, and health/beauty products.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Gary Newcombe fears the website will continue to accept orders while there is a huge backlog of orders.
“It is alarming that the number of complaints against Home Appliances Plus and the amount of money they owe their customers continues to rise while there are clear difficulties in filling orders,” Mr Newcombe said. .
“It is illegal for traders to accept payment for goods which they do not supply, so they must be sure to fulfill their commitment to deliver within a reasonable time before advertising them for sale, as required by the consumer law.
“In this case, the company does not hold the products in stock. Its website simply takes orders for third-party vendors.
“Many of their unhappy customers who have requested a refund are not considered and have difficulty contacting the company or getting a response.
“The operators of this retail website have also not fully cooperated with attempts by regulators to resolve the complaints and for the business to stop taking orders while the backlog exists and the complaints do not are not resolved.
“Now is the time for us to issue a public warning to consumers not to order products from Home Appliances Plus as there is a high chance the goods will not arrive and refunds may not be provided. We strongly recommend that you order these products from other more reliable retailers.
“Affected consumers may also request a chargeback from their credit provider if they paid by credit card and did not receive the merchandise.”
WA consumers who experience delivery issues after ordering products from Home Appliances Plus can file a complaint on the Consumer Protection website.