Datz Music Store fail to answer questions, still have your money

20 August 2009

Bitterwallet - Datz Music StoreYesterday we told you about the Datz Music Lounge, an all-you-can-eat online music subscription costing £100 for 12 months. Except instead of allowing you to download tracks from world-famous artists, most of the popular material has disappeared from the store in the past week, leaving nothing much but dregs and karaoke tunes.

Sometimes we report on a story like this once and let it go, but we don't feel we can do that here. Given the enormous amount of press Datz received at launch last year, and given that the likes of Sainsbury's have been a high-profile supplier of the product, it's likely that thousands of consumers have paid up to £100 to subscribe to a service that simply isn't there.

As we've tried to find answers, we've began unpicking the story of Datz, and it's rather interesting:

There are two sites - the Datz Music Lounge and Datz.com - an online music store where you pay-per-track. This was the first of the Datz companies; it was registered as a limited company in March 2007 and launched the following October, but owned and managed by Comment Retail Services Ltd. Datz Music Lounge was launched last October by the MD of both Comment and Datz Ltd, Michael Richardson.

At the end of last year, Woolworths went into administration, and several of their suppliers hit the wall as a result. Comment Retail Services Ltd was one of them - they went into administration in November, barely a month after the Datz Music Store launched. Comment were based in the same offices as the address currently held by Datz - Unipart House on Garsington Road, Cowley.

Of course it'd be easy to draw conclusions based on these facts, but we'd rather hear an explanation from Datz themselves. That has proved far easier said that done - we already know that Datz is refusing to answer customer emails, and we've tried to contact them again on both their corporate and technical numbers without success. We've also called Unipart House reception - according to the receptionist, there are staff working in the Datz office, yet nobody will answer the phone when put through. We were given a direct landline - 01865 383316 - and nobody answers that number either. We've called Datz's PR agency XL Communications twice and emailed - they should be managing this situation on behalf of their client, but they won't returned our messages. Datz's digital music distributor 24-7 Entertainment also refused to comment.

In the meantime, not only are Datz potentially sitting on hundreds of thousands of pounds of customer subscriptions, and not only are they failing to supply the service as sold, but they are still selling it: their product is still available in Sainsbury's stores across the country, and Datz are still taking payments for orders through their own website:

We've now contacted Sainsbury's and asked for a statement on the matter. Until then, unless somebody at Datz or their PR company wants to do their customers the courtesy of explaining what's going on, we'll keep asking questions.

38 comments

  • Michael
    Finally, a real fucking article! BRAVO
  • Jamie
    Datz criminal yo!
  • flamingcarrot
    Keep pushing on this one folks - I couldn't believe the state of the Datz site when I looked - nothing even vaguely recognisable on there. They should be giving their customers money back now, and cease trading. Interestingly. their sister site. Datz.com, is stocked to the brim with current chart hits and recognisable acts, none of which are now available to the folks who have forked out £100 up front!
  • Dik t.
    HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BW finally has an original story ;)
  • customer A.
    WHY don't you contact HSBC who are processing these'fraudulant' transactions and report Datz Music as obtaining money by deception / attempted theft / fraudulant mis-representation, i.e the product no longer exists. I'm sure they will be legally obliged to STOP processing these online transactions :)
  • customer A.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ref above I have reported this (as mr p smith ;) )^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ As you may be aware the company Datz Music you process payments for is unable to fulfil the agreements that you are still processing the payments for. This surely is: obtaining money by deception / attempted theft / fraudulant mis-representation, i.e the product no longer exists. I am sure you would like to be made aware of this as it reflects badly on you see: http://www.bitterwallet.com/datz-music-store-fail-to-answer-questions-still-have-your-money/17056 for details Regsrds, Paul
  • Bill G.
    I find it a little disturbing that they seem to not require the card holder's name in the above screenshot ("all fields marked * are mandatory")
  • Paul S.
    There was a previous page where details were added - above is a partial screengrab just to show the process is still able to take place. Admittedly, I didn't chalk up £100 to ultimately prove it, but I went as far as I could without doing so. The rest of you - you love it, you do.
  • customer A.
    @ Paul Smith "but I went as far as I could without doing so"........10 years for that m'laud ;) . Have HSBC been in touch yet paul ????
  • Paul S.
    Without knowing what details were supplied to the bank on my behalf, I'm not sure how they'll be contacting me... :/
  • Iggy P.
    Paul "Admittedly, I didn’t chalk up £100 to ultimately prove it, but I went as far as I could without doing so" Well if you did chalk up £99.99 to ultimately prove it (as the screenshot shows) what the fuck difference would 1p make?
  • Jibby
    Errrr.... that they're stilling taking peoples money? Don't be a dick.
  • Iggy P.
    Oh, Sorry, My Mistake
  • Marty P.
    To defend a bank, (not easy in these times) all you are looking at is a terminal. (Albeit an electronic one) If you went into a physical store and put your card in a physical terminal and typed in your PIN and bought shoddy goods, just because the bank had had stuck a sticker on that terminal didnt make it the bank's fault did it? The terminal is in the shop. The same case here DATZ have embedded the HSBC e-terminal on their webpage, because (probably) they bank with HSBC. If you go to a supermarket and buy out of date biscuits just because it says BarclayCard on the card terminal it isnt BarclayCard's fault is it? The Bank only become responsible if lots of people contact their card issuer to complain and demand their money back. At that time MasterCard or Visa would have a word with the HSBC because of 'excessive chargebacks'.
  • Paul S.
    Marty - if you read the post, I don't say anything about the bank been at fault - the point of the screenshot (and the accompanying text) was that Datz are still selling the product, despite the fact they don't appear to provide the service as sold.
  • Jon M.
    Have discovered that Holly Davis, who I had lots of emails with from Datz, moved jobs in August. Sadly she didn't tell me she was going and therefore have to suppose she knew what Datz was up to despite keep reassuring me Datz was ok.
  • Haydn R.
    I bought a Datz Top 40 Download Voucher from Ebuyer just over a week again and I have been unable to download a single song. Ebuyer have stopped selling this voucher ("out of stock") but are still advertising 5 Album download vouchers afor £25 and Datz Music Lounge Dowload for £86.
  • Haydn R.
    Reference Holly Davis - Where is she now? (Courtesy of LinkedIn.com) Ctrl Alt Shift Internship Christian Aid (Non-Profit; International Trade and Development industry) Due to start a 9months internship in Christian Aid's Warrington office. Working on a new media based project with Ctrl Alt Shift August 2009 — Present (1 month)
  • Neal M.
    Is everyone else getting the same "Navigation to webpage was cancelled" message. Looks like it's gone kaput. I paid £50 and got my moneys worth through the raster noton, huume, kitty yo, ariwa, greensleeves and sst back catalogues. Sorry to see it go, even though it made you work for your downloads.
  • IMB
    "Is everyone else getting the same “Navigation to webpage was cancelled” message. Looks like it’s gone kaput." That's exactly what I've been getting since Sunday! I paid the full retail price in January, but admittedly have made it pay. You're right: you work for your downloads-you earn them!
  • Roy B.
    Message on the site this morning - "Datz Music Lounge is currently closed, sorry." Somehow, I don't think it will be back. During the past 3 days, I have contacted 5 companies still selling the product (including eBay) and not one has seen fit to withdraw it from sale.
  • Furious A.
    Any idea how this could have gone ahead? I did a little digging, based on the information on this site (thanks guys) and found this article here: http://www.mobiletoday.co.uk/Fone_Logistics_confirmed_that_it_is_owed_money_by_Comment_Retail.html It seems that Datz' owners collapsed as far back as December 2008, but have continued to trade at least up to April 2009 (when I joined) and much longer I think. I'm guessing that those still selling the product have paid their money to the black hole that is now Datz/Comment, and are trying to recoup their losses through the unsuspecting public. I think I managed to get my money's worth out it, but only because Sainsbury's was doing a special offer (£66.66) at the time. But I wouldn't have bought it at a ton, and I downloaded stuff that I would not have considered buying otherwise, partly because I often couldn't find what I wanted anyway. I'm gonna check my local Sainsbury's and see if they are still selling it. Then I am going to try persuading them to stop selling a fraudulent product. I'm gonna try, anyway. I'll let you know... :/
  • Stu
    Comment never owned datz they were a separate companies,i believe datz website will be under new ownership soon and hopefully a restructure will be in place ;-)
  • Geoff
    Well, Sainsburys response (or lack of it) beggars believe. I’ve emailed them twice now without any answer and my local store has increased the price of the one remaining box to £49.99. Stu, do you have any further info on that restructuring plan?
  • Paul S.
    Geoff, I've spoke directly to the PR people at Sainsbury's and twice have been promised a response on this. So far, nothing. I'll start digging again and come back with what I find.
  • Datz B.
    [...] three weeks ago, we updated you on our investigation of Datz - heralded at launch by the technology press as a new eat-all-you-want subscription model for [...]
  • KH
    The message on the site may state "Datz Music Lounge is currently closed, sorry" but the URL of that page probably tells the full story: http://www.datz.com/gone.html
  • MF
    OK, I'm not sure of the legal side of this but...... When we bought our subscription to Datz, we were told that we could download any of the music on their site DRM free for 12 months. Obviously we all know that. I downloaded a fair amount of tracks from the site as quickly as I could, just in case. There were far more that I was interested in. However that is not going to happen any more SO..... If any Datz subscribers were to share the files that they downloaded from Datz to other Datz subscribers, would that be considered either immoral or illegal? Given that the product was bought in good faith, and that all of these tracks were available to download at some point in time, then I certainly don't think it's immoral, and will allow us to recoup some of our losses?? If you think that this is a good idea, then lets see what we can do about it??
  • KH
    It almost certainly would be illegal, and even though they are non-DRM MP3s, you can bet that there will be a tag that uniquely identifies an MP3 to your account. Morality of course is a whole different question... On a related note, currently the whole of Datz is unavailable...
  • RH
    Having Just purchased an ebuyer Datz Top40 Voucher - which when used on website wouldnt let me download anything - 2 days on phone reeived no answer to calls ***PLEASE NOTE - IM HEARING THAT DATZ HAS CLOSED DOWN********* http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/26988/datz-music-lounge-closes-down Having spoke to Ebuyer hopfully they are refunding my money
  • Roy B.
    So much for that tosser Feargal Sharkey spouting off about downloading free MP3's from the internet being illegal and immoral. Tell me how EMI and Warners have not been immoral? They knew we were signing up for a 12 month contract with Datz based on those companies being part of the deal, but they pulled the plug after only 6 months. Are they going to comment on this debacle? Offer us some form of compensation? What about Sainsburys? Nothing to say? And Stu, I'd love you to expand on your comment from September 6th. Are you in the know?
  • Paul S.
    RH - Pocket Lint picked up the story from us - we updated these rather shady dealings a couple of days ago: http://www.bitterwallet.com/datz-shuts-down-but-sainsburys-still-sells-the-music/17899 Roy - we're still trying to get a comment from Sainsbury's...
  • Roy B.
    It's the record companies I'd really like to hear from, especially their comments on why they pulled their products knowing that we'd been signed up on a minimum 12 month subscription. (See http://www.emigroup.com/Press/2008/press111.htm) Anything to say Matthew Crosswaite (EMI Music) and Greg Scholl (CEO - The Orchard)? And these people wonder why music files are downloaded illegally!
  • That’s B.
    [...] fact we uncovered the trail back to Woolworths nearly a month ago; we also learnt that Comment went into administration barely a month after the Datz Music Store [...]
  • snowey
    Michael Richardson, you've got to feel sorry him. First he's a director of Unique Distribution which went bust with debts of over £15,000,000. His Lambo got repossed as well so i heard, 150 people out of work. Sets up Comment, massive losses and goes bust. Datz £1,000,000 invested apparently (wonder where that came from) then goes bust. All shielded by limited companies though. Does that seem right?????
  • snowey
    read michael richardsons past history on Mobilenewscwp.co.uk and mobiletoday.co.uk. Check out the archive files.
  • A B.
    [...] has covered the demise of Datz Music Lounge – from the initial worry amongst customers, to the unpicking of their finances, to their final demise and liquidation. You’ll notice we’ve underlined that last word, [...]
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