Consumer advocacy group Choice has named online retailer Kogan in its 2019 Shonkys Hall of Shame.
Kogan landed the (dis)honour for refusing to refund some customers for faulty Kogan-branded laptops, a violation of Australian Consumer Law (ACL), as well as some reported pricing tactics.
On the Shonkys Hall of Shame microsite, Choice shared the story of one Clive Ferguson, whose Kogan D500 Notebook experienced a major failure.
Ferguson was first advised to download a new driver and then send in video and photos of the laptop. After finding out it didn’t have a new D500 in stock, Kogan offered Ferguson a cheaper model, which he refused and instead asked for a refund.
Kogan refused to issue the refund, which Choice said was “a clear violation” of the ACL. “Clive's persistence paid off and he was eventually issued a refund, but it's just one of the many stories we've received about this highly profitable retailer,” the microsite read.
Choice said that since its initial investigation, Kogan has cleaned up its terms and conditions but they remain ambiguous, still containing terms that contradict those of the ACL.
The entry also included a short quote from a former Kogan repair technician, saying "I've seen goods that went back and forth between Kogan and the customer three or more times, and the customer really should have got a refund the first time.”
“I was not proud to work for this company," the technician added.
Choice also cited Kogan’s run-in with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission earlier this year, when it was sued for a "bogus" 10 percent discount offer which came after temporarily raising prices 10 percent.
The non-profit also expressed concerns about Kogan’s expansion into insurance, superannuation, car sales, energy, mobile and internet services and travel. “If Kogan's track record with its electronics business in anything to go by, we recommend you steer well clear of these offerings,” Choice said.
Other Shonkys "winners" include AMP Superannuation, Freedom Foods XO Crunch, Ikea, Medibank and the pet insurance sector.
Apart from Choice, Kogan has caught the ire of NSW residents, often finding itself at the top of the NSW Fair Trading complaints register multiple times. The company most recently held the top spot for May 2019 with 32 total complaints.
Updated 10 October 2019 3:57pm: A Kogan spokesperson issued CRN the following statement:
“Our mission is to deliver Australian customers the most in-demand products and services at the best prices, and we care deeply about the experience and satisfaction of everyone who chooses to shop with us," the spokesperson said.
"As part of this, we take customer satisfaction extremely seriously and in general, Kogan customer satisfaction is very high. Our NPS average for the past 12 months is 64.81 (on a scale of -100 to +100).
"Despite that, earlier this year, we weren’t doing well enough in resolving certain types of complaints. This was reflected in the number of complaints made to certain bodies. Since then, major action has been taken to improve complaint resolution, and the results of this effort are shown by a 92.2 percent decrease in complaints since the post-Christmas peak earlier this year. Complaints are now at an extremely low level, especially considering that more than 4 million orders were delivered during the past year.
"Delighting our customers is our reason for getting out of bed in the morning, and we believe there is always a better way. We will continue working hard to improve the experience we deliver to our customers. We look forward to delighting our customers with the most in-demand products and services at incredibly low prices for many years to come."