Charges filed against truck shop operator

Truck shop salesThe Commerce Commission has filed charges against a mobile trader, or truck shop operator, claiming he obtained money from customers by deception and never intended to supply them with the goods for which they paid.

Vikram Mehta, a former director of Flexi Buy, appeared in the Auckland District Court facing three charges for breaching the Crimes Act and two under the Fair Trading Act, the regulator said. Mehta will reappear on September 15.

Flexi Buy is one of two companies named by the regulator as being under investigation in a report on truck shops released last week.

The regulator found they typically target poorer communities, particularly in Auckland, with non-compliant contracts, steep prices and often lower-quality goods than can be bought at ordinary shops.

The investigation began in response to a rising number of complaints from consumers and community advocates about sales techniques, including door-to-door, telemarketing, websites, Facebook and parking their trucks in prominent locations. Sales are usually on credit, layby or other deferred payment terms.

The report found documents provided to customers “are often non-compliant” with the Fair Trading Act and the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act, prices charged are high and the goods are often of lower quality than comparable items in mainstream retail outlets. Some traders were also difficult to contact to cancel contracts or payments, and some continued to direct-debit customer accounts after the full price had been paid.

You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.