Thursday, May 3, 2012

Father Chrisco / Mother Fucker

I've been wanting Vincent to guest post ever since he did his last post before the election last year, but I couldn't think of anything worth his while writing about. Then we were both yelling and fuming at the ad for MyLayby a week or so ago, and I thought he'd do a much better job of writing about it than me (and probably not cry while doing so). So tonight we have Vincent, and I will keep sitting here feeling sick from my greasy fish and chips and then my ice-cream (it's already freezing - why?), and then he and I are going to watch Cabaret. As Nancy said, it's a fine life. (Vincent arrives in Mobile:) was launched a few weeks ago with a series of god-awful ads on telly. The website lets you pick almost anything you want and gives you 52 weeks to pay off the items and subsidise the lifestyle of a soulless English millionaire who now lives in Australia.

MyLayby is owned by Richard Bradley, who is also the founder of the Chrisco Christmas hamper scheme. Chrisco is massive. They sell around 400,000 hampers every year in New Zealand and the people that buy the hampers are always poor people. Even Richard Bradley doesn’t deny this. Middle class people don’t layby groceries, which is why Chriso sponsors the Kiwis and not Team New Zealand.

Bradley has made a fortune by selling overpriced groceries to low-income families for a once-a-year Christmas binge that they don’t need and definitely can’t afford. He owns the most expensive house in New Zealand (the $30 million Kim Dotcom mansion in Coatesville, complete with helipads, swimming pools (plural) and a panic room) and the NBR estimates Bradley’s wealth at around $80 million. Again, of all this comes directly from low-income families.

In February this year, Chrisco was fined $175,000 after pleading guilty to ten charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act. The charges all related to a cancellation policy that meant Chrisco received way more than it should have under the Lay-by Sales Act. The court also said they had intentionally misled customers about how they could cancel their contracts and what they would be charged if they did.

Not surprisingly for a man with no taste, or at least no right-brain (watch the ads and visit the website for yourself) and not a shred of morality, MyLayby is run almost identically to Chrisco, and customers (the poor) are overcharged as a rule. Consumer Magazine did some checking and found MyLayby charging $999 for a television that sells for $799 at Harvey Norman and a scooter selling for $549 compared to $494 at another site. This is way beyond the supposed ‘overheads’ that Bradley uses to justify his prices.

I read an interview with Bradley this afternoon. The reporter asked him about the repeated criticisms of his companies. He responded with the following: "It frustrates me ... I understand we all have opinions about things we don't know anything about, but poor people don't need to be protected from me."

(Vincent leaves Mobile. Please come back soon! We will get to bed much sooner if you do.)

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