Comfy goes bust, customers out of pocket
Marlborough people who paid thousands of dollars in deposits to an outdoor living company at the Marlborough Home and Garden Show last year are out of pocket after the company was liquidated.
Comfy Industries Limited sold blinds and shutters at home and garden shows around New Zealand.
The Express believes two Australian men operated the company from Adelaide.
Picton woman Lynn Tyrere-Jones paid a $745 deposit in July for a set of blinds after she went to the Home and Garden Show in Blenheim.
There was no timeframe on when the company would install the blinds but Mrs Tyrere-Jones began to get suspicious after a few months had gone by without any progress. "I started sending emails so I'd have some record of our conversations," she said.
A man who worked at Comfy Industries told her they had lost their managing director and had to fire their installers.
Mrs Tyrere-Jones said she could find someone to install the blinds if they sent them to her but was told the company preferred to install them themselves. In November, the man assured her the blinds would be up before Christmas. She hasn't heard from him again.
"I hate being ripped off," Mrs Tyrere-Jones said.
She was concerned other people had also lost money.
"I don't believe this is a one-off."
She emailed and left messages asking for her deposit back, but the phone number had been disconnected and her emails bounced back.
Meanwhile, a Renwick man who paid a $1500 deposit on a shutter roller at the home show started doing some digging when he hadn't heard from the business.
He spent months researching the company and gathered a list of 12 other people in Marlborough who had paid a deposit at the home show but hadn't received what they had paid for.
A couple in their late 70s had lost $4000 on a deposit, he said. "That's what made me pursue it."
He discovered the business address in Napier housed a storage shed and an empty showroom.
He believed the men had good intentions but they got in too deep.
"I think it turned into robbing Peter to pay Paul," he said.
"It got so much they couldn't handle it."
He talked to police, who told him it would be classed as a civil matter unless he could prove the business had intended to rip people off.
He got a refund after going to the bank and reversing his credit card transaction, but he believed there were people who hadn't been as lucky.
Home and Garden Show organiser Anne Joll, of Jade Promotions, said the company also owed them money.
They had written off the "thousands" of dollars owed to them by Comfy Industries after the firm sent an email in December to say they had gone into liquidation.
Comfy Industries Limited had been involved in five home and garden shows with Jade Promotions last year - in Marlborough, Taupo, Wellington, and two in Hawke's Bay, she said.
Comfy Industries is in the process of being de-registered on the New Zealand Companies Office site.
The Marlborough Express