This is vaguely computer related, so bear with me. You may have heard of this guy- he is the one who bought a whole lot of Bris Connections shares and then tried to get out of paying the installment obligations that came with the shares.

In fact he organised a meeting of shareholders ostensibly to wind up the company and save others from paying the installments, then made a back room deal and voted against the propositions, pocketing over $4million. Leaving loads of small investors with bleak prospects. A few weeks later he has the balls to claim that he helped these people because most of them have been able to make deals on the installments.

In the news today, it turns out that he has failed to transfer all of the shares to his nominated patsy (hope you got paid in cash buddy) and the company is now chasing him for their $1.3 million installment payment.

Additionally one of the companies he owns, Bottle Domains has been deregistered by the auDA, Australia’s domain name administrator. They subsequently were awarded a court injunction to get their business back (a decision is due 22 June from the court). But look at what they were deregistered for- someone broke into their system and stole a whole lot of data which is bad enough. But they failed to show that they had taken steps to prevent this happening again. Truly scary stuff, ignoring the safety of your own data, and that of your customers.

So, back to the computers. A couple of years ago, people started coming into the shop asking about the prices on a website called and after checking it out we found that it is owned by Australian Style Investments. Nicholas Bolton’s company. The prices were very cheap (saving about 4%,  a fair discount), but when I rang them I found out why. ‘This is an online shop. If you have a problem with any of the products you have bought from us, please contact the manufacturer. If you need to contact us, please email us’. They had reduced prices by taking people out of the equation. No advice, no help, no service.

I’m having a lot of trouble expressing why this is important. While computers are becoming more of a commodity, I still think they are an important purchase and that some help should be available. Offloading that help to your brother or neighbour then expecting you to go to a website to buy is an invitation to make a mistake. Perhaps I shouldn’t worry, but I’ve seen companies take advantage of less well informed consumers for 20 years. So when you walk into Harvey Norman and see a computer on special with a big discount and ‘Clearance’ on it- you know it’s a discontinued, old model right? And you know the discount isn’t really a discounted price, it’s the new RRP, right?

But back to the Bolton-

So I hope I’ve given you a glimpse into the life of one of Australia’s most despised investors.

Ethics is not a place in England, Nicholas.


PS. These opinions are mine and have nothing to do with Buymax.