Gommers Transport fights for survival

Gommers Transport is fighting back after being billed $130,000 for goods it never asked for

Gommers Transport fights for survival
Gommers Transport fights for survival
By Ruza Zivkusic | November 8, 2010

Murray Bridge, a little town in the heart of the Murraylands outside Adelaide, has been hit hard by an alleged scam.

Forty businesses were promised cheap phone calls, plasma televisions, printers and mobile phones if they signed up to a contract.

They are believed to be among 40,000 small businesses across Australia caught up in an alleged scam by a company called Fresh Telecoms, which has since gone bust.

Des Gommers, of Murraylands, is fighting his hardest battle since the family-owned trucking and farming business, Gommers Transport, was formed 67 years ago.

In an attempt to slash his phone bills, the 58-year-old signed a contract with the company three years ago that promised to reduce his bills by $35,000 over a five-year contract.

Gommers says he was told there was no catch, except that he would get "free" printers and mobile phones with the deal.

He declined the "free" deal, but a month after signing the contract he received three photo copiers and a couple of phones, all at a retail price of $15,000.

A year later, Gommers received an email from the company stating it was going into liquidation and that his phones would be disconnected on the same night.

"A week after that a gentleman rang us from Technology Leasing and said we had to pay out the balance of the contract. He said we were renting equipment and I said we had never signed any rental of equipment," Gommers says.

"He was asking for $130,000 for the balance of the five years of the rental agreement."

Gommers has refused to pay the balance and has hired lawyers who believe he’s got a case worth fighting for.

But the father of three is one of the few in his town who is fighting the battle, as many small businesses had long given in, he adds.

"We stood our grounds; we’re not paying for something we didn’t get, we’ve done nothing wrong," Gommers says.

"We’ve got past the money, it’s the principle we’re dealing with.

"People like that don’t frighten me, when you’ve done nothing wrong you shouldn’t be frightened to expose someone that’s acting illegally," he says.

The court case might take up to five years but Gommers says he is confident he will win.

"Would you pay $130,000 for nothing?" he asks.

"It was embarrassing to be caught out by this but after having seen several of thousands businesses around Australia that have been caught, including law firms, what chance does the average person then got?"

Gommers says 40 businesses were caught out over a 10-day period.

"A lot of people are very bitter about it, some of the smaller ones settled because they couldn’t stand the stress; they even got the local golf club, the community club and the racing club," he says.

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