Datz shuts down, but Sainsbury's still sells the music

8 September 2009

Nearly 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 the music industry. It involved punters buying Datz Music Lounge - a CD ROM and a USB stick combo - for £99.99, either in-store at Sainsbury's or elsewhere online. This entitled the user to download unlimited music from tens of thousands of artists for a whole year.

Bitterwallet - Datz MD Michael RichardsonThen it all started going wrong. Last month, a reader told us that the major artists promised by Datz had disappeared from the online store; Datz seemed to have lost the rights to libraries from EMI and Warner. We then went digging into the history of Datz and uncovered a spider's web of debt and administration - at the centre of it, the man on the right, Datz MD Michael Richardson. Despite been unable to provide the service as sold, Datz continued to sell the product online for full price, while Sainsbury's continued selling it at a discount.

So three weeks on, where are we? The only update is that the Datz Music Lounge has now shut down altogether. We've made several calls to their offices since our last post and they continue to go unanswered. Their former press representative at XL Communications won't provide any information as he no longer works on behalf of Datz.

What about Sainsbury's? We initially contacted the press office on 20th August and raised our concerns - that the product was unable to satisfy its own claims as sold, and should be removed from stores as to sell it would mislead customers. In total we have now contacted Sainsbury's three times - each time explaining the situation to their press office to determine what action they were taking and to provide a statement, and each time they have failed to return our call. Today we read in the HUKD forums that a branch of Sainsbury's was still selling Datz Music Lounge last Thursday, although it had been discontinued and heavily discounted. Sainsbury's had been aware of the product's misleading claims for a fortnight - the supermarkets had no right selling the product at any price because it didn't work.

Since Datz Music Lounge only launched at the end of last year, everyone who has bought it has lost out on their 12 month subscription. The scandal is that nobody involved in this seems concerned that Datz have probably taken tens of thousands of pounds and ran, least of all Sainsbury's. You could try returning it to the original retailer since it clearly isn't fit for purpose for the duration of use. And keep an eye out for Michael Richardson - he's no doubt keeping a low profile.

12 comments

  • Darren W.
    DATZ showbiz!
  • Matt B.
    I take it Mr Feargal Sharkey will be at the forefront of giving these LEGAL downloders their money back?
  • David J.
    This isn't a scandal. Firms fail every day...
  • jambo
    attention the gimp above - the scandal is that sainburys is still selling the fecking twelve month subscription even though the firm has gone bust! And when other firms go bust, there are usually administrators who take over and start processing claims.... doesn't look like there are any here! good on Bitter Wallet for chasing these cowboys down.
  • ATroll
    I'll stick to Usenet, thank you.
  • karen m.
    my dad bought his 1st eva pc 4mths ago and then he bought this datz crap of the ideal shopping channel,he hasnt been able to download 1 song,they've ignored our e-mails & phone calls & i even phoned the ideal shopping channel but they where of no use,now i read on your site that they have shut down.i would have told my dad not to bother if i'd known that he was gonna buy this,it just goes to show that if you do it legally theres always some bastard who will rip you off and i know he has lost his money.i would have told him to download limewire cause thats what i do....k mcnulty p.s do you know if people are getting there money back or if administrators have been called in?
  • KH
    If you were sold it by Sainsburys then your contract is with them and they should be refunding you.
  • Chippy
    Mark (TVDBP) - You are a mongtoid of the highest order.
  • Geoff
    Spent fifteen minutes in Sainsburys last night and finally extracted a refund from them. BUT it’s still on the shelves, the product SKU is still showing as active and the internal customer services number they rang were apparently unaware of the situation. I’ve sent three emails so far and all ignored. So it you want to chance it, be prepared for an argument.
  • KH
    (Agreed with Chippy. Quite why anyone would be so against Martin Lewis I have no idea - be grateful for what Moneysavingexpert provides you for free to save you money, not spiteful for what you feel it lacks.) On topic: Amazingly ebuyer are still selling a Datz 5 Album voucher for £20. Sainsburys should bloody well know better and should be pulling their finger out.
    • Paul S.
      If anybody has anymore information on their dealings with either ebuyer or Sainsbury's, can you send it to [email protected] Ta!
  • KH
    Update: cannot now find any products on ebuyer by searching for "datz".

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