Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions under spotlight amid more scam allegations

Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions is in the spotlight once more over alleged claims of dodgy dealings regarding its exhibitions.

As the Singleton Mining Exhibition is postponed for the fifth time, speculation is growing that Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions has no intention of going ahead with the show.

The Singleton mining expo was originally planned for August last year, but has been postponed five times since then, leaving companies who paid to showcase their wares out of pocket and frustrated.

The most recent postponement came today when event organiser John Webb sent an email to exhibitors stating that the “due to circumstances out of our control” the date of the expo would need to be moved again.

The company’s website says the expo was due to held on October 16 to 18.

A company who had paid thousands to exhibit at the show told Australian Mining it was certain it would not see the money again but wanted to warn other businesses about the potential scam.

The spokeswoman said Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions had made various excuses for postponing the event since the 21st of June last year when an email was received which moved the date of the expo to February 2013 due to concerns about the timing of the event.

Then on the 18th of December 2012 another email was sent stating the expo would be postponed again in order to “ensure that due to weather considerations we maximise the number of visitors to this major event”.

Soon, another email on the 21st of December said the weather was an issue: ”We have been advised that Singleton will experience temperatures of up to 44 Deg in February 2013 due to the changing weather patterns,” the email read.

“Why run a show in a heat wave when delaying a couple of months not only provides the best conditions and visitor numbers for your investment but increases your personal comfort as you will be the standing in the tent all day,” it went on to say.

Another email on the 16th of May postponed the event once again.

The spokeswoman said her company had paid for the exhibition two years ago but were quickly losing hope of seeing the money again, as they fear the expo is a scam.

“At this point we don’t want to be involved in the expo at all,” she said.

Exhibition organiser John Webb told Australian Mining there were extenuating circumstances around the most recent cancellation, stating that he was suffering from a serious health condition.

“I have a brain tumour,” Webb said.

Webb said he would be calling every exhibitor personally to apologise and explain the current situation.

“The postponement of the exhibition will only be for a few months as we are getting a new date from the showground today.”

Webb added that he is in the process of selling the company and wanted to ensure the new owner took over all the planned exhibitions.

“If I give up everyone will lose their money and no one has ever lost their money with me in 25 years,” he claimed.

This is not the first time Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions and its organiser John Webb have been accused of dodgy dealings.

Earlier this year the company was advertising a three-day mining and resources expo at the Karratha Country Club that the club claims had not been booked with the venue itself.

The club's General Manager Nola Brown told Australian Mining she felt for the exhibitors who had paid for flights and accommodation to be at the event.

“I told them to hold off on paying any more money,” she said.

In 2009 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found Webb guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct under the Trade Practices Act.

Webb was ordered to pay $50,000 in costs, and attend a TPA compliance seminar, after the watchdog found he had misled consumers in claiming former Prime Minister John Howard and then-WA Premier Geoff Gallop supported mining expos he was in charge of promoting.

Australian Mining has been swamped by calls and emails from people who claimed they have also been burnt by Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions.

“He did the same at the Mackay mining expo where many exhibitors showed up, paying thousands…nothing was spent on advertising – so there were almost no visitors,” one reader commented.

“This Webb guy did the same to us with a Brisbane Mining Expo and we can’t get out money back. He said they emailed us about the postponement but we have no record of it,” another reader added.

The ACCC advises anyone who suspects they have been subject to misleading or deceptive conduct to make a report.

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