By Patrick Avenell
While the large businesses chasing United Warranties for millions of dollars have made headlines over the last month, Current.com.au can today reveal the much smaller, but in many ways more devastating, individual cost of this collapse.
Since its collapse was confirmed by liquidator Grant Thornton last month, it has been revealed that United Electrical Holding Company Pty Ltd has just over $270,000 in realisable value — a figure dwarfed to irrelevancy by the total unsecured creditors’ claim of $12.7 million.
The full list of unsecured creditors is almost entirely retailers and suppliers. These companies are in credit for moneys owed and for goods held by United Warranties or for repair under warranty. For example, Townsville Electronics is chasing $4,609, Myer is owed $56,713 and Canon Australia is owed $273.
Then there are the individuals who gave over their TVs, fridges and coffee machines for repair, never to see them again. Today on Current.com.au, we tell their stories.
“My Saeco Talea Touch coffee machine was collected by courier and taken to United Warranties for repair in early June,” said Rikki Taylor. “United Warranties have been nearly impossible to contact since this time.
“I contacted the manager of Myer to let him know of the problem I was having and he told me to leave it with him. My coffee machine was over $2,000 and has now disappeared and there is no ETA on a resolution.
“I had not heard back from Myer customer service so once again I rang them. They told me that they don't know when I will have any more information.”
And here’s another customer:
“They picked up our TV on 6 June,” said John McCarthy. “They never left any paperwork with the wife. Now there’s no answer.
“I called customer service at Myer and the poor old dear who sounded so stressed out took my details. She said she doesn't know when anyone will get back to me. No TV, no record of it being taken and no-one to verify it was picked up. You buy your goods from stores like Myer or DJs so this s,,, doesn't happen. Not happy.”
And from Mary Lohrey in Sydney:
“Can someone please tell me what I have to do to get my plasma TV back from where it’s being held at United Warranties Repair Shop at Botany?” asks Lohrey.
“It is really disgraceful that United knew that they had no intention in fixing the TV yet they came to my house and picked it up — basically they stole it right from under my nose in broad daylight.”
Current.com.au has contacted Grant Thornton to relay these stories and to seek advice on behalf of these stricken customers. They have not returned our calls.