Cartridge cowboys go to Boot Hill

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Melbourne-based company Corporate Office Supplies Pty Ltd has gone into voluntary liquidation. Two years ago the printing consumables supplier was found to have harassed a Queensland farming couple into spending almost $80,000 on ink cartridges they did not need.

Photograph - VCAT image
VCAT in 2017 found Corporate Office Supplies acted unlawfully when it sold a Queensland couple 1700 years' worth of ink cartridges for one printer.

Founded in 2010, Corporate Office Supplies sold consumables including toner, inkjet cartridges, and fax and office printer supplies. On its website, it describes its “burning desire” to be the number one office consumables supplier in Australia.

“We are committed to providing the best service and highest quality products for all our customers. Our products are subject to strict quality testing before being made available.

“At Corporate Office Supplies we ensure all our sales staff possess our core values of honesty, integrity and teamwork. We strive to put our customers first and ensure our customers are treated with the utmost respect,” the company said.

In 2017, Corporate Office Supplies was ordered to pay back Queensland farming couple Rod and Charmaine Sharp over $90,000 after Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) deputy president Ian Lulham found it had harassed them into buying 2040 ink cartridges at a cost of $78,000 for a machine which, on average, consumed one cartridge every 10 months – a total of around 1700 years’ worth of cartridges.

In his decision, Lulham described the company’s conduct as “unconscionable”, and said it demonstrated a “significant level of moral obloquy”.

“The ‘decision’ to purchase so many cartridges was so inherently illogical as to put the vendor on notice that something was wrong: either that the purchaser lacked capacity to make a proper decision, or the vendor had done something – even inadvertently – to mislead the purchaser. The Respondent may as well assert that Mrs Sharp agreed to buy the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” he said.

Con Kokkinos of Worrells in Melbourne has been appointed as liquidator.

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