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PlusCorp has Closed Down (11 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 25-October-2007  15:26:51 (GMT +10) - by Agg

It's my sad duty to report that PlusCorp, long-term OCAU sponsor and great friend of the Australian PC enthusiast community, have closed down indefinitely. I spoke to Nigel briefly via email yesterday and he confirmed the business has been voluntarily placed in the hands of administrators and is likely to be sold. They wisely decided to wind things up before too much debt was incurred, and managed to make sure almost all outstanding orders and warranty claims had been taken care of.

PlusCorp were one of the first Major Sponsors that saw OCAU for what it could become, over five years ago. Previously they had been more focussed on the corporate and government market and it was quite a big step for them to enter the enthusiast market. They have provided us with server hardware over the years (including much of our current database server) and handled our merchandise sales for a long time. More recently they'd been extremely active in our Sponsor Specials forum and almost without exception we always heard positive comments about them from the community. They along with the other Major Sponsors provided the secure financial footing that allowed us to build OCAU up into the fantastic resource and community it is today. I'm sorry to see them go and I wish Nigel all the best with his future endeavours.

Personally I find it a bit worrying that a company like PlusCorp, with a loyal customer base and an excellent customer service record, can find it so hard to thrive in the market. Over the last couple of years we've seen several "cut-price" vendors arrive on the market, with incredibly low pricing that many established vendors simply couldn't compete with. PlusCorp is not the first vendor to wither under this strain. This of course is the way markets work and we can't expect charity between businesses who compete with each other. But it seems to me the ultra-low pricing is achieved by some of these vendors at the expense of customer service. Many times we've heard reports of vendors who don't even answer their phones or emails, who have websites that are vastly out of date, and who are virtually uncontactable when it comes time to service a warranty claim. Surely the few dollars saved on the original order is forgotten when you can't get help from the vendor.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against any specific cut-price businesses or even their business model. They see a niche in the market and it obviously works for them. But I worry that if we continue along this path, where saving a few dollars is the primary reason why people choose one vendor over another, that good customer service and good warranty handling will be luxuries that not many businesses will be able to afford. To have helpful sales staff and friendly people taking care of warranty claims costs money, which has to come from the slim margins on products sold. If people aren't willing to pay a little extra to encourage that, those good qualities may even vanish from the market entirely. Surely this trend is unhealthy not only for those vendors who do specialise in good customer service, but for the entire industry and community as a whole.

There's a thread discussing PlusCorp's demise here in our Current Events forum.



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All original content copyright James Rolfe. All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed without written permission.