Get In The Ring

You wanta antagonize me?
Antagonize me motherfucker
Get in the ring motherfucker
And I'll kick your bitchy little ass

-- Guns 'n Roses

I thought I'd dedicate this page to various individuals and organisations who are need of sanction for misconduct or otherwise bone-headed stupidity:

Should those cited seek redress -- well, write some HTML.

Magellan Systems

I bought a Magellan 3000 GPS receiver in June 1996 which claims to be waterproof -- they're not. It spent about 20 seconds submerged under water and then it didn't work. I think there was a problem with the seal around the LCD screen cover. The battery compartment was remarkably dry, but the receiver wasn't.

After calling them and faxing them and receiving no response I talked to someone in their repairs department who informed me that their receivers were:

waterproof, but not submersible

But for the 1996 Housbot Escapade we needed a GPS, so I bought a Magellan 2000, because I could buy one on my way to the bot. However there was an intermittant in the 2000 which means it couldn't be turned it on reliably, it crashed, switched itself off and sometimes lost it's memory. The cause: any mild shock, such as tapping it with your finger or placing it on a hard surface. Really high-G stuff. Not exactly rugged ... built tough as per the advertising.

If you see the Housbot Escapade pictures you'll see the 2000 and my Ericsson GH 388 which works, as per spec, like a charm, modulo the dubious coverage of, and bugs in, SFR's GSM network.

But the 3000 bring us to...

ASK Electronics

VISA Refund I returned my waterproof Magellan 3000 GPS for a refund to Mr Ashok Patel of ASK Electronics, Tottenham Court Rd, London, England, who has interesting ideas on customer service, merchant responsibilities and the law.

Given Magellan advertises their receivers as as waterproof and them not being waterproof breaches the trade descriptions act and is a breach of contract between the seller and the buyer. I guess I could add not of merchantible quality, but I'm not sure that works in the UK. I know enough about the British law to use it to my advantage.

I was in London at the weekend (6/7 July 1996 for Access All Areas II) so I took it back to ASK Electronics after sending them two faxes (no reply) and one phone call. The phone call went down the same track as this conversation I had with Ashok Patel on Saturday morning:

Patel:Yes, but it's up to Magellan to fix it.
Boyd:No, it advertises itself as being waterproof and is not, so it is in breach of the trade descriptions act.
Patel:Well that's Magellan's problem.
Boyd:No, I've had this conversation with you before and you agreed to refund my money.
Patel:But we didn't manufacture it. It's not our fault.
Boyd:I never said you manufactured it. Under British law we have a contract. The offer is the receiver, the acceptance is when I say 'I wanna buy it' and the consideration is the payment. I want a refund.
Patel:[peering into box] But there aren't any batteries.
Boyd:[incredulous look]
Patel:We'll give you a refund, but will have to charge you for the batteries.
Boyd:[smirking, sarcastic tone] And what would you value them at?
Boyd:[sarcastic rhetorical question] So you're going to charge me for the batteries? Hmm, I can see this exchange coming to a web site near you... Ok, whatever.
Patel:[gets merchant card and credits my Barclaycard]
Boyd:[leaving] And I'll report this to Barclaycard.

It was the usual story of trying it on, but eventually caving in when presented with someone who knows their rights. Skea witnessed the whole ugly scene.

And it's not much better in France. Returning the 2000 for a refund bring us to...


These turkeys run a small electronics shop on Boulevard Sébastopol in the 4th arrondissement in Paris. They don't seem to understand much about the law either. I took the Magellan 2000 back to them to get a refund but they said all they could do was an exchange, so I tried to get them to order me a 3000.

After about a month I was sick of this delay and so I bought Le Code de la Consommation which is the set of consumer laws. Discovering Articles 1641 and 1644 of the Code Civil I realised that I had the right to a refund in this case. I went and saw them twice more and then sent them a fax and a certified recorded delivery (recommandé avec AR) copy of the fax, but to no avail.

I returned one more time and had a neat shouting match with the owner for half and hour or so, much to the interest of his sales people, where he claimed that he had not received the fax (later they refused the letter). He told me some nonsense about he'd refund my cash when he sold the GPS 2000 that he had finally got in to replace the one I'd returned. Nope, I'll see you in court. Boy was he pissed off. It was pretty funny. I laughed a lot and then had a couple of Tex Perkins at Café Oz.

Not to be deterred, I went to the Departementale de la Concurrence de la Consommation et de la Repression des Fraudes who were suprisingly helpful and told me I should make a Déclaration au Greffe. After telling this tale of woe to le greffier she said ça ne m'etonne pas. So it would appear that these guys are well known for their interesting business practices. Having done this I received a letter from the Tribunal D'Instance de Paris 4 confirming the court date to be Jeudi 24 Octobre 1996 à 14h00.

And I did see them in court. They'd lawyered-up with some bonehead who commenced by claiming that she hadn't had time to prepare the case even though they'd had a month to prepare. To follow, she tried another stroke of genius claiming that I had returned the receiver in absolute complete working order, ignoring the fact that she held in her hand a receipt stating probème d'allumage. Voir touche ON-OFF. I pointed this out to the judge as well as Articles 1641 and 1644 of the Code Civil and a precedent set in 1974 regarding vendors brought before a court. With that the judge said the judgement would be delivered on November 7 1996.

I called Le Tribunal on the afternoon of November 7 1996. You might say I got a result which you can check out on pages 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the judgement.

The next step in getting the cash was to have the judgement executed by a Hussier de Justice (process server and notaire). I chose M. Cabour & J. Girod Chataigner, 160 rue du Temple, 75003 Paris because they weren't far from where I lived and I could organise this and go by my bank (205 rue du Temple) at the same time.

They explained to me that the cheapest way to do it is if I had Outlet's bank account details. If that is the case they can contact the bank and directly debit the amount owing from the account. Given I didn't have this information I decided I would pay the 1200 FF for the full deal. I paid because I was convinced that these guys were going to have to pay even though it seemed at the time that I wouldn't be able to recover this fee.

They also asked me to find some proof that Outlet still existed which I did with the Minitel and gave to them. I started with 3617 Eurodile and finished up with INFOGREFFE (08 36 29 11 11) who sent me Outlet's company registration information. INFOGREFFE was 9,21 FF/min but it gave me access to the records kept by Le Greffe du Tribunal du Commerce (I think that's what it's called).

The procedure is for the Hussier de Justice to serve the judgement and then there is a month's grace in which to pay. Of course, Outlet didn't pay. In this case the Hussier de Justice returns and seizes some amount of property to cover the cost of the monies owed. Then there's another month's grace, before the the goods are sold and you get the cash. Outlet had some of their goods seized.

A month or more after the month had elapsed I received the cheque from M. Cabour & J. Girod Chataigner for 2971,35 FF (that's 35 centimes after the comma). This is the amount in the judgement (2000 FF), plus interest (53,55 FF), plus the fee for the Hussier de Justice (1200 FF) minus the tax on this total. So, I only lost out on 282,20 FF (the tax) when I had thought it would be the whole 1200 FF. Given the delay I am assuming that the seized property was sold.

So Outlet were really dumb. They ignored the judgement and had their property seized and sold. On top of that they had to pay for a lawyer for the court action.

Australia Post

My brother and I had a small problem with Australia Post's Pyrmont Post Office not wanting to re-direct my mail to him. I sent them this:

4 June 1996

Studio Dauphine
13 rue Dauphine
75006 Paris

The Postmaster
Pyrmont Post Office
+61 2 566 2241

Re: Mail Re-direction 02962418 4
133/313 Harris St
Pyrmont 2009

Dear Postmaster,

Quite frankly I’ve had enough of the shenanigans that myself and my brother (Lyndon Roberts) have had to put up with from your office regarding the re-re-direction of my mail. We have attempted to do this on several occassions and have received nothing but obstructive behaviour from your staff. The mail is mine. I authorise my brother to deal with it. You are to follow his directives.

You will find attached faxes, confimation reports and a copy of the original re-direction. There is even a copy of my drivers licence, as requested. Should this not suffice, would you prefer?

  1. Fingerprints
  2. Retina Scans
  3. Voice (for recognition)
  4. Saliva
  5. Blood
  6. DNA

You should be aware that this correspondance is copied to him (via email and fax) and that we are in contact via snail mail, email, telephone (mobile and fixed), fax, WEB, IRC and numerous types of Internet audio. Trickery, on the part of Australia Post, will only result in embarrassment to Australia Post. We play to win.

Should you have any questions regarding this matter, you can contact me on deleted (mobile) or deleted (fax) or snail mail (above) or (email).


Boyd Roberts

Energy Australia

I received an interesting refund cheque from these jokers and was forced to instruct them how to conduct their business:

3 June 1996

Studio Dauphine
13 rue Dauphine
75006 Paris

Energy Australia
+61 2 269 4692

Re: 01882307

To whom it may concern,

I was somewhat suprised, and then appalled, when I received the refund cheque for the above account. After requesting the service be terminated its seems that Energy Australia took the executive decision to cash the cheque on my behalf, convert the funds into French Francs, raise cheque drawn on a French Bank and charge me $10 for the transaction.

There are several problems with this:

  1. The original cheque should have be made out to me and should not have been cashed, except by me.
  2. Energy Australia have no idea whether I have a French bank account to cash the French cheque.
  3. Should such a course of action been merited, Energy Australia should have paid for the bank draft, not me.
  4. Given the refunded amount was $32.66, wasting $10 of it by way of a foreign bank draft is hardly good economics.
Turning to the actual bill for the period I see that I averaged the same consumption as the previous period. Now, this is interesting because how could I have consumed the same amount given the appartment was vacated by me on February 3. I would like this explained. I suspect that another guestimate has been made, rather than a true meter reading.

I am less than happy with this situation and request that the full amount owed to me be credited with a cheque made out to Boyd Roberts, in Australian Dollars, drawn on an Australian Bank. Once this is done I will return the uncashed French Franc cheque.

For your information I’ve attached copies of the cheque and the bill. Had there been an email address on I would have sent this message via email.

Should you have any questions regarding this matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me on deleted (mobile) or deleted (fax) or snail mail (above) or (email).


Boyd Roberts

Subsequently I received another cheque but no investigation into the other matter was forthcoming.


I regularly receive mail from an an employee of Lintas, an advertising agency, in their Sydney office. It's appears that Lintas have no regard for their electronic corporate image because each and every piece of mail commences with:

> THIS IS A MESSAGE IN 'MIME' FORMAT. Your mail reader may not support MIME.
> Some parts of this will be readable as plain text.
> To see the rest, you may need to upgrade your mail reader.

You then see the text of the message and then it's followed by pages of noise of the form:
Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="WINMAIL.DAT"
Content-Type: application/octet-stream; name="WINMAIL.DAT"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64


I have complained about this on numerous occasions, but to no avail. I guess Lintas just don't care about image or presentation. A strange state of affairs for an advertising agency.

© 2004 Boyd Roberts: