A Wellington woman who gave her faulty phone to an electronic store for repair is "gutted" after claiming the store withheld her phone before mysteriously closing.
Destiny Maxwell Collins told the Herald she gave her faulty phone, worth $700, to Ways Electronics Ltd on Willis St on May 24 as she wanted to give her mother the phone for her birthday.
She paid the company $171 for the repair, was given a contract to sign and told it would take 3 weeks to fix.
After not hearing back from them she phoned the business last week to see when they would return the phone. However, when no one picked up she walked up to the store to find that it was closed.
"When I got there it was closed, but the sign said it should have been open Monday - Friday 9 - 4," Collins said.
"Another guy was outside wondering why it wasn't open either."
The closure comes as Ways Electronics has recently been ordered to pay four former employees Sukhdev Kumar, Saurabh Sharma Gaurav Singh and Rohit Pal Singh a total of $16,504.16 for outstanding wages and holiday pay, according to court documents.
The company has also been ordered to pay the former employees $1394.93 in interest and the total will increase $2.27 for each additional day that passes till payment is made.
Ways Electronics is also to pay to the Crown, via the Employment Relations Authority, penalties totalling $31,300.
All these payments are to be made by this Friday. If the penalties are not paid, the outstanding wages and holidays liability fine will be passed on to the owner, Shobhit Saini.
According to the Companies' Office, Ways Electronics is not under liquidation
After Collins was unable to contact the business owner over the past week, she went down to the store on Monday to find it was still closed.
She spoke to the dairy owner next door who said that they didn't know why the store was closed but many customers had gone in and asked them what was going on.
Collins also tried reaching the company through email and Facebook last week, but didn't get a response until Monday.
In the message, she asked if anyone was managing the store as she needed the phone back asap, and the company responded with a phone number claiming that person had the keys.
"I called the number and the guy who answered didn't even work there anymore, he quit last week," she said.
"He was like 'how did you get my number?'"
On a Facebook post in Vic Deals, she wrote that the former employee told her it was his personal number and was confused as to how she got it.
"He said he doesn't know why they'd send his number and sounded pretty shocked," she wrote.
The disgruntled customer then Facebook messaged Ways again, asking for the director's number. They told her that they would get back to her.
However, the Facebook page was subsequently deleted, along with business owner Shobhit Saini's personal page that Collins also tried contacting.
The Herald has contacted Saini for comment.
Collins said the whole thing has stressed her out as her mother is going back home today.
"I got the phone put in the first place as my parents were coming down to Wellington," she said.
"They are here now visiting from Tokomaru Bay, which is an hour northeast of Gisborne, so they don't really come down here much giving they are far away.
"My mum's phone is not the greatest and it was her birthday coming up so I wanted to give her a new phone.
"I have not even been able to give her the phone, so I'm pretty angry and upset about it."
After trying and failing to contact the owner for a resolution, Collins has reported the incident to police.
She rang the 105 number and the person on the line told her it could possibly be fraud.
The customer was then advised to fill in an application form with the Disputes Tribunal which she has done.
A police spokesperson confirmed to the Herald that Collins reported this matter to police via telephone yesterday and was advised to co-ordinate with the Disputes Tribunal about the matter.
She also spoke with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment which also advised her to go through the Disputes Tribunal.
According to the Ministry of Business's website, "any faulty products in for repairs are still your property. You should get them back, even if they are not repaired."
Ways has previously received bad Google reviews, with one customer claiming they still have his laptop.
"I left my laptop for service on 24th June 2019," a customer wrote three days ago.
"The guy from a store ordered the wrong screen which does not work. I can not reach anyone from the store since. It has already been 5 days. Need urgent access to the laptop.
"Does anyone has other contact numbers for the owner or know who I could contact to get back the laptop?"
Others complained of lack of communication, delay in service or products being returned with faulty parts and/or the product being further damaged.