ACCC Slams MSY Over Dodgy Warranties, Issues $203,500 Fine

ACCC Slams MSY Over Dodgy Warranties, Issues $203,500 Fine

Warranties are expected on new goods (and even some second-hand and refurbished gear), so being told that such standard protection will cost you extra, or isn’t present at all, should have one of your eyebrows arching in a questioning manner. Tech retailer MSY recently ran afoul of the ACCC after it attracted more than its fair share of inquisitive eyebrows, the end result being a number of fines, totalling in excess of $200,000.

According to ZDNet, the company, which has been tussling with the ACCC over the matter since November 2010, was found to be in breach of the Trade Practices Act by the Federal Court. Along with being required to clean up its warranty-related shenanigans and advertising, MSY’s stores in Queensland, NSW, Western Australia and South Australia were hit with fines ranging from $18,500 to $55,000.

Two years ago, Angus posted about the ACCC’s intentions of chasing down retailers with little interest in providing proper warranties. It’s good to finally see a positive result from the watchdog.

While I know some swear by them, MSY has never been a favourite of mine when it comes to hardware. Thanks to dedicated search engines like Static Ice, locating stores with competitive pricing is quick and simple. I personally don’t mind paying a few dollars more for better service and peace of mind — these days the margins are so cut-throat, the savings don’t justify immediately going with the cheapest option.

MSY Technology hit by $200K ACCC fine [ZDNet]


  • MSY ‘s prices are just a few dollars cheaper than other computer stores. I personally go there because it’s pretty close, but the service that some stores provide is horrible. I guess you get what you pay for.

        • Just don’t go after work. It’s usually when it’s closed for lunch… Busiest time of the afternoon and the “geek” is out the back sleeping for 40 minutes.

          • Ipswich guy is good, Helped me with my video card replacement. Not surprised if the main store in Brisbane got fined a lot, My brother had issues with his system he bought there. Took it there 3-4 times and finally got the problem corrected, faulty video card.

  • I go to the cannington store all the time and the guy there is always really helpful. I had to go to balcatta once though and they are horrible so I guess it must just differ from store to store.

  • Yeah +1 to the cannington store, since opening never had a bad moment always get served by Ben who is easy to chat to and knows where the stock is.

  • Lifehacker may want to rethink that Microsoft branding of Work posts. Looks like it was Microsoft, as well as MSY who got done for dodgy warranties.

    (pretty horrible and intrusive adbranding for lifehacker IMHO)

    • This site has ads ???

      Personally I buy all my computer gear from the Apple Store where the smiles are free… and you pay top $$$+ for everything else 🙂 But seriously though… there is value to the higher prices.

      I fondly remember the many many hours, over many many visits spent in disjointed lines of customers at MSY and CPL back in the days when I used to assemble my own PC’s and did work for family, friends, work people etc. Waiting for 20-30+ minutes to get served by some rude asian person, or the friendly, anglo with hands as to what level of service the asian owners let them provide. Can’t say I miss that side of it ONE little bit.

      I remember standing in those lines thinking how awfully inefficient the whole processe was, especially at CPL. They seriously need a ticket system like Vic Roads. I swear it would pay for itself in more people served, more $$$ turnover, more happy customers….

      Anyway… my iPhone just messaged me to say the iPad was finished syncing to the iMac… iLove it 😀

      • Hey Tim J I’m an anglo just like you and I thought I would let you know you are a racist. I understand that you might not think that you are, you were just mentioning the fact that the people who own the store are busy and not too concerned about the customers, but what comes across there ^^^ is that you are a bigot. I’m sure the people at MSY don’t miss your business, you are an embarrassment to Australia.

        • From my experiences with several MSY stores he is right. The Asian staff have all been rather rude and unhelpful not to mention have really poor English skills.

        • Hey Nathan I’m an anglo just like you and I thought I would let you know you are a tube-steak, I understand that that you might not think that you are, you were just mentioning the fact that the person who commented in the post above has a view mildly different to your own, but what comes across there ^^^ is that you are a douche bag. I’m sure the people at MSY would not care less about some words on the internet calling some of them rude, you are an embarrassment to Australia.

      • Oh yeah, thats a good idea, lets pay 4 x the price for the same hardware only to get a OS with no control…..

        if you want a good a computer shop with the same prices as MSY use CPL, much better than MSY…

    • Yeah the morningside guys are awesome. I actually had a small car accident out the front of their store after picking up some gear (guy in a sports car came around the corner WAY too fast). After we swapped details and whatever, one of the guys from inside came out and handed me a can of coke and said “Here, I think you need this” and walked away.

      Customer for life.

  • I’ve been to MSY for years. I used to call the pascoe vale, vic store the computer nazis because they reminded me of the soup nazi on Seinfeld. However the SA stores have been great, friendly and even good for warranties.

    • Justin, re your statement that MSY are even good for warranties. Really? Under the Trade Practices Act everyone needs to be, so why should they be any different? However, the truth is that most customers who have a warranty issue are told by the staff at MSY to send the item back to the manufacturer (somewhere in China or Taiwan) along with the receipt, as MSY itself will not issue a replacement. This is a clear breach of the Act. This happened to my son today, and I’ve seen first hand other customers being refused warranty assistance and cooperation. Tomorrow I will pay them a visit and then report them to the ACCC regardless of the outcome. You’d think they would have learnt from their first lawsuit in 2010!

  • Best thing about MSY is going to Harvey Norman, Officeworks etc and getting a price match based on their prices. I got a $250 modem/router from HN for the $120 or so MSY charged and my printer toner from officeworks for $33 rather than $110…

  • I’ve never bought from MSY. In the past I have planned to, but the few time’s I’ve tried to call them just to check that they do have the stuff in stock (it’s too far away to drive and find that a product isn’t in stock, but close enough that it’s worth the drive if it is in stock.) They never answer their phones, or at least in my experience. Doesn’t exactly leave a good impression, so never bought from them.

    On the other hand, one of the best computer stores I’ve found is PC Case Gear… Their service is the absolute best I’ve ever come across, and I will happily pay a little more to shop there (even though I live in NSW, most places I’d have things posted to me anyway, so postage isn’t a concern.)

  • It’s no frills shopping. Consistently cheaper than most other brick and mortar in Adelaide (probably “all other”), with a decent range, the ability to check online if your item is in stock. Simply saves money AND shopping around. Shame on them if the warranties were fluff but in many years and a lot of purchases later I’ve simply never had to take a single item back and I have the joy of cacking myself everytime I see salespeople lying to customers in Harvey Norman and then charging them exorbitant prices!

  • I am in perth. I always buy from PLE computers in bentley. Then one day boss asked me try MSY store. I bought branded 1TB external hard drive from MSY. Took it to work and found the original packaging cellotaped inside the box, the power adaptor wasn’t original (no english on the power adaptor -only chinese) looked like original adaptor was lost so they replaced it with generic. Good thing it died in 3 days and I took it back. never MSY again.
    Back to PLE computers. They are only a few $$ more than MSY but warranty, service & genuine products make it worth it.

  • I’ve bought from MSY before. Horrible customer service. I had a external HDD that was clearly dodgy (and confirmed with HD Tune). The guy that served me, plugged it in and ran chkdsk (without any parameters) and pointed and said – “Look drive’s fine. Can’t do anything” – I’m sure they’re not stupid to know that chkdsk doesn’t check for bad sectors unless you ask it to. So now I take the price list. Go to Officeworks who match MSYs price and take a further 5% off.

  • Used to buy from MSY a fair bit due to them being close to home. Had some pretty shocking experiences though.

    I went to pick up a PC I had built for my bro. Paid them the extra dollars to build so they would do a burn in test to save going back if there were any faulty parts.

    Started off getting dicked around by them saying it would be ready to be picked up by a certain time when it wasn’t. Ended up making three trips in one day before it was ready.

    Finally got it home and went to plug it in, and it had no PSU (despite one being ordered and paid for). I’d love to know how they did a burn-in test without a PSU!!!

    Ended up going back and going nuts at them (in front of a huge line of people). Since then I’ve stuck almost exclusively to buying online except for when I need something urgently (e.g. being short a SATA cable when installing a drive, etc).

  • The should be fined for their dodgy High-Vis website as well 🙂

    I didn’t mind MSY until the guy at the Slacks Creek store tried to sell me an Intel motherboard for an AMD CPU. I was lucky I know my parts, because he tried to substitute another motherboard because the one I wanted wasn’t in stock, this would have been very bad if i bought it with their no return if opened policy.

    As mentioned above, I will pay a couple of buck extra to get better service, but also advice if needed.

    • The people that work there have no prior computer knowledge, I worked there for 3 months and have extensive IT knowledge. All they ever did was tell me I was wrong and that me being “new” meant I had no idea. Not a very pleasant company to work for. I worked in the Brendale, Slacks Creek and Morning side stores in Brisbane.

      People used to love lining up in front of me because I had the strongest English in the store. I was fired before the end of the 3 months probation because customers wanted to “have a chat” about products or something similar. I was then replaced with another employee with no IT knowledge.

      • It was the Slacks Creek store where the guy insisted my external HDD was fine, when it clearly wasn’t. He was an Aussie, so had no English issues.

        • Luke? I remember you I think, I left the store thinking hey, a guy since me and Daniel who know’s his shit. Then you were gone the next time I went in. There was some other white dude, who had no idea.

          Back when I worked there, I was one of the most knowledgeable, because I was always researching in my spare time. That said, my colleagues at the time had a pretty good idea, but they’ve all left except Daniel. (Like you said, not the best place to work, I always got yelled at for shit that had nothing to do with me) It’s gone downhill since then unfortunately , especially with the shop layout., so messy, not to mention none of the staff out the front have a clue. I still go there though. If you know what you’re doing you rarely need warranty, so it’s of no concern to me. Haha.

  • LukUs, you’d be the shining example of: “It’s not ‘what’ you know, it’s …” … uh, hang on a tic, I gotta scoop up some melting brain cells out of my eyes and ears.

  • I haven’t had an issue with MSY, bought several systems through them with no mention of extra money for warrant (but then again I didn’t asked, just assumed it came with the manufacturers warranty). But lately I’ve been frequenting – prices are decent but so is postage, PCCG are cheap but they gouge you for postage! $80 postage for a $100 PC case? No thanks!! Greenboxit was just over $20 for the postage of the same case, and price was much the same.

  • Best news of the morning, they refused to fix my LCD, my video card and my power supply, all 3 seperate incidents on 3 seperate systems, best news ever!

    Sucked in MSY, you deserve it and so much more, AUBURN n WARWICK FARM stores!

  • I figure you get what you pay for. I’ll nip in if I need something fairly urgent and cheap but recently I’ll go in and half the stock on their price list is not in stock and it’s just not worth the effort. Now at the point it’s just easier to buy online and wait for the delivery from a more reputable store.

  • MSY Balcatta is absolutely terrible. Wouldn’t give me a warranty swap on a keyboard that I tested IN STORE 5 seconds after I purchased it.

  • I had 4 x 2Gb Drives from MSY, when one failed in the array, Returned for warranty, it sat on their shelf for a few weeks while I rang them every day and annoyed the guy like hell, until he offered to refund it for me.

  • Smaller computer stores used to run at about 10% profit margin – until MSY came along. To keep price-matching customers, one would have to sell $60 printers with $1-$2 profit, and $1500 desktops with $50 profit. Pointless!
    Explaining to customers that service and warranty comes with a price tag only works on some occasions.
    I hope anyone in the market for a computer at low prices sees this fine. Eat it, MSY – karma is a B!

  • As much as I find MSY to be SUPER dodgy (thought I’ve luckily not had many issues with parts sourced from them before aside from a PSU being installed upside down) I’ve recently moved from Melbourne to the ACT and really don’t see any other options for reasonablly priced hardware!

    Anyone here from the ACT and have any recommendations? I want to upgrade soon but i know MSY will not have any of the parts I want in stock and then take weeks to build the damn thing, but im not willing to pay, on average, 60-70 dollars more PER PART for somewhere else

  • I have always used the Slacks Creek store and found them to be consistently what you would expect: monosyllabic, brusk Asians who have a no-frills approach to supplying cheap I.T. gear.
    If I needed advice/wanted to have a chat about feelings/or wanted to pay more, then I would just go somewhere else. It’s how they roll. Respect!

    • Yeah – I agree. I use the Auburn store here in Sydney, and it’s great when I know exactly what I want, walk in, ask for it, pay, walk out. If I pre-order, it’s even better.
      If I want any more than that, I go to Harvey Norman down the street for the touchy-feely experience (then wander up to MSY), or go to my local IT shop for advice + purchase. My local guy costs a bit more, but I generally take a bit of his time up, so it’s worth it.

  • Try Itestate, PCdiy, Beecom to name a few, only a few bux more, MSY might be super cheap but its super worthless if they don’t have stock, 90% of the time, so whats the point of been cheaper if its not in stock.

  • Honestly people, you get what you pay for, its a simple as that. I have never had a problem with MSY in the past or CPL.

    Use this trick, buy the parts and build the PC on the same day, if it doesnt work take it back with the receipt and say “uh i bought this today and its not working can you please change it”

    i have bought all my past PC’s from MSY over the past 8 years and have never needed warranty ever… you people seem to want good prices and good service…. lol dreaming that for sure… the only people that are wiling to help are the ones that are going to make something out of it… dont you know this by know???? Leshers….

  • intel australia refused me any warranty support – contacted accc – even wrote to accc.

    big nothing zero zilch from accc . looked so hard the other way they almost crashed their ferrari’s.

    accc is a hired gun which cracks down in this case on a computer supplier which break cartel operating here in Australia – nothing more.

  • I have returned faulty items to MSY Slacks creek a few times and always left with a repair or replacement. The last time was a Noctua fan with a broken blade, they said they would return it for me but not to expect a repair on physical damage, but I was happy that, at least they tried. A few week later they called me to come and pickup my fan, it was replaced with a new one.
    GD refused to return a faulty HDD. It was 13 Months into a 3yr. warranty. They said it wasn’t their problem after 12 months. Flat refused to touch it.

  • Ive had issues @ canberra store, but usually they r fine. Wanted the ram’s original packaging before accepting refund, once I quoted legislation and threatened ACCC action all went well. They have a shocking business model the store is dangerous to be in, so messy boxes n junk everywhere. I dont shop there much anymore and support smaller shops near by who might be $10 more but worth it (not to mention no waiting times)

    If I won lotto id buy out MSY, make a new website, fire the douches and fix up every store and train the staff in customer service and profit.

  • I purchased a notebook from msy on 16/09/12, it was found to be faulty so i took it back to the store very next day and msy guy told me that i better call Toshiba for the repair. when i asked what is your store refund policy then i was told if the product found to be faulty so i said it is faulty and there are several issues with the note book as it was showing the blue screen after some time, when i take the power cable off the whole note book goes offline even though the battery is fully charged, further more battery icons does show up any sign of battery status like how much battery remains and how much is being charged etc. Even so the guy told me that i better call Toshiba; well i called up Toshiba and the guy told me that if the product is faulty retail store should replace it or refund it. i was told that as long as the battery is concerned Toshiba will replace it and he performed some factory default reset with the laptop and i did so… but the problem does not go away and it is showing the same error and behaving the same way as it was before so i am taking this note book back to MSY store again to do something about it.

  • These people are @rseholes. I first met MSY 23 years ago when it was a 1 shop operation in Caufield and with a stall at the Camberwell Computer Swap Meet and they have done nothing to improve their customer service ethic since then. Shonky, shonky, shonky . . .

    If the case by the ACCC isn’t enough warning then, by all means, go find out for yourself first hand!

    Seriously, go anywhere else but this mob. UMart, JB HiFi, anywhere!

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