Business Advice

Amazon voucher scam hits Aussie inboxes … Herringbone, Rhodes & Beckett begin fire sale … States ditch government’s $300 million red tape scheme

Dominic Powell /

A legitimate-looking scam email claiming to be from online retail company Amazon is doing the rounds, promising customers a $500 gift voucher ahead of the company’s Australian expansion, reports Fairfax.

The email reportedly includes Amazon logos and realistic looking graphics, inviting recipients to click a link to claim one of 80 vouchers. The email was sent randomly to Australian addresses, despite the claim it was sent to those who “subscribed to offer emails”.

“[The] expansion of Amazon into Australia is fast approaching. We will soon begin operating brick and mortar distribution and retail centers [sic] in all states across Australia,” the email reads, reports Fairfax.

“Of course, Aussie consumers are no strangers to Amazon. In the past few years we have built strong relationship with you and we are here to say thank you!”

It’s unknown if the email is simply attempting to gather the personal information of recipients, or install malicious software such as ransomware or keyloggers.

During 2016, businesses in Australia lost over $3 million to online scams, with the average amount lost coming in at $10,631. The most common scams reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch were false billing scams and phishing/malware attacks.

Herringbone, Rhodes & Beckett administrators begin stock fire sale

In an attempt to ‘pave the way’ for interested parties to buy the business, administrators of collapsed high-end fashion brands Herringbone and Rhodes & Beckett will start clearance sales from tomorrow.

The Australian reports administrators Cor Cordis will slash prices by up to 60% after failing to find a buyer for the stores after their collapse in February, which fell on hard times after “high overheads, some unfavourable store leases, and other residual legacy issues”.

“After taking into account feedback from these interested parties, we’ve decided that the best way for the brands and businesses to be sold and survive in the long term is for the current inventory to be cleared, paving the way for a purchaser to start fresh with a new product range and offering,” Cor Cordis managing partner Bruno Secatore said in a statement.

The two brands have 29 stores with 140 employees across Australia, turned over $40 million annually, and are majority owned by German apparel group van Laack gbmH. Seven of the stores closed soon after the collapse, with the administrators saying the closures were key to “limit ongoing losses”.

States sceptical of $300 million red tape budget measure

Australian states and territories were handed a $300 million package to help reduce red tape in 2017’s federal budget, but not all states are on board.

Fairfax reports the governments of Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland have not “signed up” to receive funding for the red tape reduction scheme.

“All states apart from Queensland, South Australia and Victoria have signed up to date,” small business Minister Michael McCormack told Fairfax

“Payment will be pretty flexible, we will keep it as wide as possible but we want to focus on small business because they benefit the most. The states have been asked to come to the federal government with ideas and the treasurer, Scott Morrison will approve.”

The South Australian treasurer Tim Koutsantonis told Fairfax his state was apprehensive of the deal due to some of the conditions set out in the Intergovernmental Agreement on Competition and Productivity, which states are required to be part of in order to receive the funding.

“Some of the conditions set by the Commonwealth in their program are not acceptable because of the harm they would cause – including unregulated shopping hours, lower occupational licensing standards and reduced control of access to liquor,” Koutsantonis told Fairfax.

“The South Australian government relentlessly pursues reduction of red tape but is also committed to supporting small business and protecting the rights of workers.”

Similarly, the Victorian government is against signing the agreement despite wanting to participate in the scheme, with a Victorian government spokesperson telling Fairfax it was “taking its own steps to improve productivity, including regulatory reform”.

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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