Further scam allegations levelled against Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions

Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions and its owner John Webb are in the spotlight once more over alleged claims of dodgy dealings regarding mining exhibitions.

As the WA Mining & Engineering Exhibition (WAMEX) is postponed for the second time, speculation is growing that Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions has no intention of going ahead with the show.

The expo was originally planned for November last year, but was postponed until April 2014.

However the show, set to be held at Claremont Showgrounds in Perth has been postponed once more.

Talking to an event organiser at Claremont Showgrounds, Australian Mining was told the exhibition had never been locked in for April.

One company who paid over nine thousand dollars to exhibit at the event told Australian Mining it was losing hope of participating at WAMEX or recovering the money.

A spokesperson for the business, who did not want to be named, said he paid the money in September.

“The company website looked great and we thought it would be a fantastic event.”

However the man said after doing more research into Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions and its owner he became sceptical.

“Lucky for us we didn’t book flights or accommodation,” he said.

“I’ve asked for a full refund but doubt I will receive one.”

The Australian Industry and Lifestyle Exhibitions website has since been removed.

John Webb has not replied to requests for a comment but in an email to this particular exhibitor said the event would be postponed for a “few months”.

“You will receive an email advising a more central location,” Webb said.

“We are going to try and increase the  visitor numbers by holding it in the city.

“Perhaps the Perth Arena.”

This is not the first time Webb has been accused of dodgy dealings.

The Singleton Mining Exhibition, also run by Webb’s company, has been postponed five times since it was originally scheduled in August 2012.

Companies who paid to showcase their wares at that event are still waiting for a new date to be set, and have told Australian Mining they fear the expo is a scam.

At the time, 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 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.

While in August last year his 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.

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

“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.

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.

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

Do you have anything further to add? Please email us: ozmining@cirrusmedia.com.au

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