The saviour apparent of Oz tech industry Ruslan Kogan is on the warpath again. In an open letter penned to rival retailer JB Hi-Fi, Kogan goes on the attack, branding its “always cheapest prices” slogan a blatant lie and has called for it to be dropped.
Click to enlarge
This follows JB Hi-Fi’s shareholder meeting in Melbourne last week, where one shareholder brought up the issue of store pricing compared to online competitors.
JB management including, CEO Terry Smart, admitted trading conditions were “challenging” and promised to step up pressure on suppliers, although this hardly warrants an admission of guilt.
However, Ruslan Kogan, CEO of Kogan Technologies, didn’t see it that way:
“Given the acknowledgements by your Chairman and CEO that prices are cheaper online, we call on JB Hi-Fi to remove your slogan, “Always Cheapest Prices” from all advertising material, and to replace it with something honest.”
“At Kogan, we applaud JB for acknowledging your position,” he added.
However, this moral high ground position the 28 year old is taking comes despite the fact his outfit is known for everything from parallel importing to grey marketing and is no stranger to cheap PR stunts.
The yellow retailer, JB Hi-Fi, is generally renowned for being one of the most competitively priced high street retailers in Australia.
Previously he called on Terry Smart JB Hi-Fi CEO to a million dollar wager that his stores won’t be selling Apple products in three years time.
Gerry Havey previously branded the mouthy Melbournian a “con” that “wont go away”.
Kogan also recently took out a newspaper ad in which he claims “Kogan beats Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi or it’s free.”
And Kogan also reckons he is the saviour for Aussie consumers:
“At Kogan.com.au, we are proud to have played a role in lowering the prices of consumer electronics, and putting an end to the Australian public being ripped off,”: the bold entrepreneur wrote.
However, visitors to online Kogan site were less than impressed:
“Ruslan, many (most?) consumers prefer quality electronics, delivered through a well-supported Australian supply chain, with warranty service available locally. Within THOSE constraints, JB Hi-Fi’s price promise is entirely realistic,” one wrote on Kogan comments section under the openly publicshed JB Hi-Fi letter.
“By all means, continue to sell your cheap Kogan-badged Chinese crap to Australians at inflated prices (yes, inflated prices, relative to what they would cost to self-import). Keep insisting they ship said crap back to Melbourne for inevitable warranty assessments they won’t be happy with, and keep selling grey-import brand-name goods with no local warranty.”
“Arrogant, just like the owner was on ABC a while back. Cheap publicity stunts.. If it wasnt for consumers being able to test/feel/play with the products in stores like JB Hi-Fi, Kogan’s sales would take a hit.”
Read a copy of the letter in full here:
Open Letter to JB Hi-Fi
JB Hi-Fi’s slogan promises Australians “Always Cheapest Prices.” You have admitted to breaking this promise.
At your Annual General Meeting of shareholders last week, one of JB’s shareholders claimed that Australian consumers were “being screwed” by the likes of JB Hi-Fi, when compared to prices available at online stores. In response, your Chairman and CEO both acknowledged the “challenging conditions” faced by JB due to the cheaper prices available online. The Chairman promised that JB would step-up the pressure on its suppliers to lower their prices, and even threatened to “import directly and bypass suppliers.”
At Kogan, we applaud JB for acknowledging your position. Acknowledging the facts of your situation is one thing, but you then need to act in accordance with those facts. If you choose to ignore the facts, you will have achieved nothing.
Given the acknowledgements by your Chairman and CEO that prices are cheaper online, we call on JB Hi-Fi to remove your slogan, “Always Cheapest Prices” from all advertising material, and to replace it with something honest. How can JB Hi-Fi, in good faith, claim to always offer the cheapest prices, when your Chairman and CEO both acknowledge that cheaper prices are available elsewhere right now?
At Kogan.com.au, we are proud to have played a role in lowering the prices of consumer electronics, and putting an end to the Australian public being ripped off.
As a result of our hard work, Australians can now avoid the globally uncompetitive prices offered by the likes of JB. Aussies can enjoy the World’s leading prices at the click of a button. The savings available at kogan.com.au are massive when compared to JB’s prices on products like Canon and Nikon cameras, Apple iPads, iPhones, and Samsung smartphones. But, don’t take it from us – compare for yourself. When we say we have the cheapest prices, we mean it.
Unlike our competitors, at Kogan we have been thinking globally since day one. We are constantly analysing the dynamics of the global consumer electronics market and investing in a global infrastructure designed to ensure we can sell products for the lowest prices in the World.
Millions of Australians are moving to stores like kogan.com.au. But, there are a lot of Aussies still shopping at stores like JB, in good faith believing that a company like JB Hi-Fi would be honouring its promises.
So, given that we now know JB Hi-Fi are aware of the price savings available online, and given that JB has made the positive step of acknowledging the problem in their pricing, we now call on your CEO to Smarten up. Stop pretending to offer ‘Always Cheapest Prices’ be more honest in your branding, and be more honest with the Australian people.
Australians have had enough broken promises.