Comfy owes cash nationwide
An Auckland textiles supplier believes the 13 Marlborough people ripped off by a blind and shutter company were among hundreds of other victims in New Zealand.
Comfy Industries took thousands of dollars in deposits from Marlborough people at the Home and Garden Show in Blenheim last year. The company was liquidated in December, leaving customers without their orders and without a refund.
Comfy Industries sold blinds and shutters at home and garden shows around New Zealand. The Express believes two Australian men operated the company from Napier, and that they have since returned to Australia.
A man, who did not wish to be named because he didn't want to be associated with the company, told The Express that he knew of customers all over New Zealand who had lost money to Comfy Industries.
He demanded cash upfront when he began supplying product to Comfy Industries last August because he didn't trust the company after dealing with it previously, he said.
After he received a few payments he got lenient. A couple of months later, the payments stopped.
"I got burnt about $8500," he said. "After that, I didn't dispatch any orders to them."
He confronted the company about the money. The owners had many different stories, he said.
"Just a lot of lies as far as I can tell. They said they had internal problems, whatever that means."
He knew of at least 25 customers, in Blenheim, Christchurch and Auckland, who had ordered product, paid a deposit, and never saw their money again.
"I think they'd owe about $100,000 at least," he said.
Auckland firm Cool Awnings is also waiting for a hefty payment from Comfy.
Customer service assistant Clare Denton said Comfy Industries ordered stock, which was shipped to Napier.
She contacted the Marlborough Express after she read a story about Comfy Industries online.
"I was shocked," she said. "That they could actually take money from elderly people, people who had saved and used their pension, that was really hard."
Cool Awnings made its first order, worth $2400, in August, Miss Denton said A payment of $210 was made before another order, worth $8000, was placed in September.
Comfy's payment was due in October but it never came.
"We started doing follow-ups with them, but they had excuses."
The directors of Cool Awnings went to Napier to confront the owners. The address the shipments had been delivered to was an empty office block.
Comfy Industries phone numbers were disconnected and emails bounced back.
- The Marlborough Express