Key Points:

  • Total Cover's liquidation could mean customers lose money
  • Customers must now wait for liquidators to assess the situation
  • They have expressed anger and regret about paying full amounts
  • Those customers could have requested only a deposit be paid
  • If the business had agreed, smaller amounts might have been lost

Just when summer is at its peak, an Auckland business which sold sunshades and canopies has gone under, leaving customers feeling the heat.

Total Cover New Zealand is, as of yesterday, in the hands of liquidator Grant Thornton's Russell Moore and Stephanie Jeffreys who are yet to issue their first report.

Customers are venting their anger on social media, one complaining of an order placed three months ago but still not filled.

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"There are a few of us customers who have paid for canopies to be installed and we have heard nothing. Their phone lines are down, their webpage has suddenly been removed. Please help us," the customer said.

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"We paid in October, were told it would be four to six weeks but there has been no communication."

Another customer wrote on Total Cover's social media page: "We too are in the same boat. We paid in full and have not heard anything. So angry."

"I went to their premises today in Piermark Rd and it's closed, phones down and website down," wrote a third customer.

"This company treats their customers appallingly and I recommend avoiding them," another said.

Total Cover's web site and 0800 number are no longer functioning.

The business said it sold "retractable awnings featuring the best German components, drop/cafe screens to enclose your deck or patio, fixed frame canopies to create your outdoor room, shade sails in any shape or size and wedge awnings to enhance shop fronts or entrance ways. We are committed to the highest possible service and advice."

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Companies Office records show directors are Bernard and David Boue-Mandil of New Caledonia and Andrew Brown of Northcote Point. Shareholders are Bernard, David and Rudy Boue-Mandil and Brown.

The company was only incorporated in late 2018 and described its activities as shop fitting, manufacturing and installation.

Its registered office has just been changed to accountants Lockhart O'Shea. Ken O'Shea of that business said if customers had questions, they should talk to Total Cover's directors.

Asked how they would do that, O'Shea said he could pass on any inquiries directly.

Moore of Grant Thornton said the liquidators were statutorily obliged to issue the first report within a week but he warned that might be "fairly short in terms of details" because the appointment had only occurred and it would take some time to undertake full investigations.

Asked what went wrong and whether customers who paid in full for goods would get deliveries and installations, Moore said no answers could be given at this point. And he doesn't expect much to change once the initial report is issued because it will take far longer than a week to undertake what's necessary.

But that would give contact details and he said customers could get in touch with any questions.

Not many answers were available right now.

"We have to look at whether there's still a business, what can be salvaged, what assets there are, Inland Revenue, creditors, etc," he said today.

"We're spending some time now looking at it all and the impact on people but I can't comment because it's just too early," Moore said.