Choice Given A ‘Choice’ They Fail To Respond Over Samsung Washing Machine Claims
Last week lawyers acting for consumer advocacy group Choice, demand that 4Square Media publishers of ChannelNews and SmartHouse, take down a story about their sloppy reporting of consumer issues and the lack of basic checks by Choice journalist, Jemma Castle.
They claim that our story could lead to both Choice and Castle claiming damages.
There was no mention of the ongoing damage that Choice has deliberately caused for Samsung in their pursuit of the consumer electronics manufacturer with their over the top publicity stunts.
The misleading Choice story related to a house fire which Castle claimed had been caused by the failure of a Samsung washing machine.
Lawyers acting for Choice claimed that our story implied among several claims that Castle was incompetent, unfit to be a journalist, careless, unqualified, attention seeking and willing to push false information to get attention, they also claimed that the same imputations applied to Choice.
We disagreed, but to be fair we gave Choice “A Choice”, we asked their lawyers to supply any information that Castle had, that would substantiate the claims that she had made in her original story that not only appeared on the Choice website but was personally Tweeted by Castle to thousands of both consumers and Samsung resellers and partners.
The offer came after Choice claimed that Ms Castle had spoken to the NSW Fire and Rescue service prior to publication of the Choice article.
The Fire service disputed this to the extent that they went out of their way to issue a statement that discredited Castle’s claims. They said “At 12.30pm on Friday, 18 March, Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighters were called to a house fire in Colyton’.
‘The fire in the laundry was extinguished quickly and no one was injured. FRNSW fire investigators have ruled out a Samsung washing machine as the source of ignition. The cause of the fire remains undetermined’
We asked Choice via their lawyers to produce any notes, recordings or any other evidence that the NSW Fire and Rescue Service had supplied the original information that Castle’s story was based on.
One week later we are still waiting for a response.
Choice is an organisation that is constantly demanding that Companies “come clean”. They demand Companies to reveal their financials yet Choice has not responded to our telephone calls or emails requesting information on their own financials.
Previously known as the Australian Consumer Association, ChannelNews has accused Choice of engaging in unethical publicity stunts in an effort to drive interest in consumer issues, the end objective being to drive subscriptions to Choice.
They claim that their membership base is their key source of revenue a bit like media Company looking for readers.
They have on several occasions targeted Companies to generate publicity, whether it be Apple with their Shonky Awards or Samsung with their washing machines.
Even after Samsung and the NSW Fire Brigade advised Choice that their story was wrong the consumer organisation who does not tolerate manufacturers making mistakes only changed the body copy of their original story. They did not change the headline.
They also failed to apologise to Samsung.
Wikipedia claims that Choice is an Australian not for profit consumer organisation, previously known as the Australian Consumers Association, this is disputed by the Federal Government’s Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
If this is incorrect and has been incorrect on Wikipedia for several years Choice has made no attempts to correct this key information source.
Checks with ASIC fail to reveal any financial filings for Choice or the Australian Consumer Association.
A lot of what Choice do is needed in society, there needs to be checks and balances as there are a lot of unethical Companies out there. What we object to is the PR stunts being driven by Tom Godfrey who since his appointment has hyped up Choice PR to the point that Godfrey has advocated that people actually break the law.
Choice basically wants Australians to breach copyright laws in an effort to overcome Netflix’s attempts to stop the illegal downloading of content that Netflix does not have the rights to in Australia.
Right now Netflix does not have the rights in Australia to certain Hollywood content. These rights are held by organisations such as Foxtel, The Seven and Ten Networks and Nine Entertainment or Roadshow who have paid large sums of money for the rights to this content.
Netflix who are moving to become a global content Company have said that they will respect the rights of Copyright holds. Choice has said bugger this we will urge Australians to use questionable practises to obtain the content.
A few weeks ago Netflix announced that it will use technology to halt proxy tools that allow subscribers watch programs available in other countries but not in their own.
Choice has slammed the decision, pointing out that there are about 8,500 items in the U.S. Netflix library compared to 1,300 in Australia.
It is these type of comments that places Choice over the line from being an ethical organisation to an organisation desperate to be seen as being on the side of consumers even if it means advocating that they break the law.