A fire sale in Australia has back-fired for Dick Smith after customers accused staffers of 'hoarding' desirable items like Apple products and TVs for family and friends to buy.
The struggling electronics retailer had a sale over the weekend, with massive discounts up to 80 per cent off some stock in its Australian stores.
Furious customers wrote on Facebook that they felt ripped off when staff were seen holding some of the best items behind the counter, News.com.au reported.
"What's the best way to report staff and store managers hoarding items out back for themselves and their friends to buy? Far too many reports of this type of shady behaviour to make it worthwhile to visit a store without your assurances," Shanan Kan wrote on Dick Smith's Facebook page.
Jonathan Greirson posted on the Noel Leeming page that he had phoned the Morley Galleria store in Perth and "was told by a staff member that staff had had first dibs on products prior to the doors opening to the public and that anything left were then up for grabs when the [sale] started".
Customer Jordan Nash shared his experience, saying he "openly saw an employee at the Ashfield store talking to his mate about this morning". "Bragging about it was more important than helping a potential customer, it seems," he wrote.
Matthew White reported the same thing at Victoria's Chadstone store. "Think this should be called Staff & Friends Dick Smith Sale," he wrote. "Not mammoth sale. Mammoth PR disaster."
One poster on the OzBargain forum reported staff at a store in Robina, Queensland, "[filling] up a trolley" with cameras "leaving nothing for anyone else".
A Dick Smith spokeswoman responded to the bad feedback saying: "We take these matters very seriously and would like to investigate further. Please PM [private message] us further information along with your contact details and we will raise this with the relevant team."
Last Monday shares in electronics retailer Dick Smith fell close to 60 per cent after it revealed the stock it has in its stores and warehouses is worth A$60 million less than it thought.
News.com.au reported a Dick Smith spokeswoman said in a statement it was taking the allegations of staff holding items seriously.
"Dick Smith does not allow its staff to hold back or reserve any discounted product before it is available to the general public. Dick Smith takes any allegations of this occurrence very seriously and is investigating the allegation further, in addition to reinforcing our existing policy with all staff members.
"Dick Smith is really pleased with the volume of customer support from both Australian and New Zealand consumers who got a jump start on their Christmas shopping over the weekend. Store traffic was high and sales performance was very positive.
"We are continually updating discounted products so consumers should visit their local Dick Smith store to see the specific deals available. The sale is only available in store and product varies from store to store. As there is limited stock, product is not guaranteed and customers should act fast to get the best bargains."
The company operates 62 stores in New Zealand.