Did script buzzers cause lockouts?

Customers at a WA shopping centre have been baffled by disruption to their car remote access… but was the culprit Chemist Warehouse?

In response to customer concerns, Lakeside Joondalup, in Perth, posted on its Facebook page that it was working with the Australian Communications and Media Authority on the issue.

According to Perth Now, “at least 100” motorists who parked in a specific section of the shopping centre’s car park in late February and early March suddenly found their car remotes weren’t working.

“Mechanics at the nearby Ultratune have rescued more than 50 people including some stranded at the petrol bowser,” wrote Perth Now’s Rob Scott.

He quoted Ultratune worker Gary Boorn who said that in some instances customers’ children have been trapped in the cars, necessitating rescue from Ultratune.

The article noted that only cars within a 150m radius of the Chemist Warehouse at Joondalup appeared to be affected.

Lakeside Joondalup centre management then posted on Facebook letting customers know that it had increased security patrols in the car park in order to help people who need assistance.

“WA Police have investigated, and have advised us that they don’t believe suspicious activity is involved,” they wrote.

“We have been in contact with the Australian Communications and Media Authority, who suspect the disruption is caused by a device as simple as an internet router. Our Operations Team have set up a scanner to find the source of the frequency disruption.”

Fairfax media now report that the problem was due to the buzzer system being used by the Chemist Warehouse to alert people that scripts have been filled, though the discount giant reportedly says this is not the case.

Reporter Lauren Pilat writes that ACMA confirmed that the problem was an isolated issue due to the buzzers entering a “fault condition”.

“In this case after the Chemist Warehouse had turned their buzzer system off, an ACMA Inspector confirmed that the interfering signal was no longer present and centre management later confirmed that operation of keyless card door systems returned to normal,” said a spokesperson for ACMA.

He said that the same system is used Australia-wide by Chemist Warehouse, but the problem was a once-off.

A spokesperson for Chemist Warehouse confirmed to Fairfax that the system had been switched off on Saturday evening – after which there had been no more car remote access troubles.

However the spokesperson also said they did not agree with ACMA’s assessment that Chemist Warehouse’s system was to blame, saying the authority’s testing was “inconclusive”.

AJP has reached out to Chemist Warehouse for comment.

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1 Comment

  1. Peter Ryan

    We had a similar problem years ago in Broken Hill. The culprit was the “Sat Scanner” we were using for stock control. It affected vehicles parked in close proximity to the pharmacy

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