‘Tel­stra cost my busi­ness $1.5 mil­lion’

Claims mis­take cost busi­ness $1.5m

Sunshine Coast Daily - - FRONT PAGE - CHLOE LYONS [email protected]­news.com.au

A FOR­MER Sun­shine Coast busi­ness owner is at­tempt­ing to sue a ma­jor telco for $1.5 mil­lion in dam­ages af­ter it pub­lished his com­pany’s phone num­ber and ad­dress in­cor­rectly.

Ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Lee Gif­fin took le­gal ac­tion against Tel­stra and sub­sidiary Sen­sis for loss of busi­ness as the ad­dress listed for his store in the on­line Yel­low Pages was 10 years old.

The phone num­bers listed for his busi­ness were also out­dated and be­longed to a car­pet sales com­pany and vet­eri­nar­ian.

Mr Gif­fin’s spare parts busi­ness, Ja­panese 4x4 Spares and Re­pairs, started in 1999 in Ca­bool­ture be­fore mov­ing to Burpen­gary in 2002, then to Ma­roochy­dore.

The busi­ness’s phone num­ber also changed sev­eral times due to the re­lo­ca­tions.

Mr Gif­fin had sub­scribed and paid for a ser­vice with Sen­sis, which were owned by Tel­stra, whereby they agreed to ad­ver­tise his busi­ness in the Yel­low Pages book and Yel­low Pages on­line.

Af­ter Mr Gif­fin moved his busi­ness to his home ad­dress south of Ca­bool­ture, his neigh­bour no­ticed two wrong ad­dresses were listed for Ja­panese 4x4 Spares and Re­pairs in the on­line Yel­low Pages.

One was a Ca­bool­ture ad­dress, where Mr Gif­fin’s busi­ness had been lo­cated a decade prior, and the se­cond was in Burpen­gary which was also listed in the Yel­low Pages book.

Mr Gif­fin claimed he no­ticed a de­cline in his busi­ness and con­cluded the ad­ver­tis­ing er­rors were to blame.

The doc­u­ments state he ob­tained a cal­cu­la­tion of his losses from an ac­coun­tant who ad­vised he had lost “in the or­der of $1.5 mil­lion”.

Mr Gif­fin re­ceived a “mod­est of­fer of com­pen­sa­tion” from Sen­sis, but af­ter the com­pany told him they were not li­able for his loss he took mat­ters to the Supreme Court.

He was un­able to se­cure a lawyer and drafted a claim and state­ment of claim in which he only named Tel­stra which were both even­tu­ally struck out in court.

“The claim did not show whether there was a term of a con­tract that was said to have been breached or whether the claim had some other ba­sis,” Court doc­u­ments read.

Mr Gif­fin fur­ther ap­plied for more time to ap­peal against his claims be­ing struck out, but this was re­jected by Jus­tice Wal­ter Sofronoff in late Novem­ber.

Jus­tice Sofronoff noted his de­ci­sion did “not mean that Mr Gif­fin can­not start fresh pro­ceed­ings if he is able, by some means, to pre­pare valid plead­ings”.

Mr Gif­fin was or­dered to pay costs to Tel­stra and Sen­sis.


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