Ratbag Rhys Coffin talks the big game, but his staff are owed thousands in unpaid wages

RATBAG: Rhys Coffin

RATBAG: Rhys Coffin

There’s a guy in Pukekohe, south of Auckland, who touts himself as an internet entrepreneur and says he is trying to build a nationwide digital community news network.

While the concept he promotes of “community-good” seems a positive one, the man himself is rapidly building a reputation as a “shady” operator.

At least four people employed by Rhys Coffin’s company We Love Media Group are owed money – in one case almost $6000 in unpaid salary.

Rhys Benton Coffin promotes himself on Linkedin.com as “working on exciting projects in news media, Māori Business Development and internet marketing”.

But questions are being raised by former staff, some employed only recently, who believe Coffin is, at best, shady, and at worst, a liar.

One has been waiting patiently since the end of July for “regularly promised” payment of almost $6000 after being appointed editor of We Love Manukau and We Love Papakura.

He was also promised a shareholding in We Love Manukau when the company was formed.

Two others, more recently employed as salespeople, have already severed contact with Coffin after receiving not a red cent.

This despite Coffin touting a major restructure of the group that saw three investors come aboard.

In fact, those investors saw the possibilities and purchased one arm of the business – We Love Pukekohe and are running it well, especially as Coffin has been relegated to a minor role in that company.

It was never their intention to bail out Coffin and We Love Media Group, rather to take over a business and run it properly.  

One former We Love Media Group employee, who does not wish to be named, relates a familiar tale of promises made but never fulfilled.

“Coffin phoned me on the evening of October 3. He was in his car and was very excited.

“During that call he told me a major investor had signed on, that I could expect $1000 overnight the following Monday and the outstanding balance within 10 days.

“I finally received $500 On October 16 and nothing since; just the occasional email (one on November 11) saying he was expecting “personal funds any day. Hopefully overnight”.

“He has a history of promising to pay … then nothing.

“How do people like Coffin get away with it? Ripping people off and then just going on their merry way?”

Coffin is the sole director of We Love Media Group and holds 80% of the shares.

We Love Manukau was never formed as a company.

There are a string of struck off companies (13) listed with him as a shareholder, and a further 21 companies listed with him as a Director (most are struck off) far too many for it to be a coincidence or simply bad luck.

If you have had dealings with, or been ripped off by Coffin, let us know via the tip line.

The sooner people like this are outed and stopped from ripping people off, the better.

Coffin should never be allowed to run a company, be responsible for money, and certainly not employ staff.

Not paying staff their wages is real ratbag behaviour, closer scrutiny of Coffin’s behaviour is warranted.

Calls to Coffin repeatedly went to voicemail and he failed to return messages before this story went live.


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  • Kelvin

    It’s unfortunate that the companies office doesn’t actively do anything about these sort of people. The Companies office way is to let the buyer beware. Even if a person sets up a sham company with no intent to pay any bills, the companies office takes no part.

  • raumatirover

    The growth on his chin and the dyed hair should be a clear warning that something’s dodgy.

  • Sally

    Can’t stand these type of people who dream up these ideas with no financial backing and then through their incompetence make innocent people suffer.
    It is a never ending cycle of failed businesses and people left out of pocket.
    They are not business people, they need to forget their grand ideas and do some hard graft.

  • williamabong

    Rhys will be as happy as a little sand boy seeing his name and modus operandi splashed all over this blog.
    Remember nothing disinfects like sunlight, and some just shone into his little corner of the world.

  • The Accountant

    This guy has no soul. Total comfortable promising the world for things he has no ability, or in some cases intention, of delivering.

  • twr

    Get the IRD onto him for unpaid PAYE. They won’t be interested in any excuses.

    • taurangaruru

      am sure Matt McCarten would offer advice on how to avoid paying PAYE & how to avoid prosecution

  • Damon Mudgway

    Sorry to say, but the man appears to be a fraudster. Some sunshine from WO and a stint of answering questions on (un)Fair Go maybe the timely intervention he sorely needs.

    • Eddie Nunns

      And a stint of answering questions on FREED

  • Peacemaker

    I have worked for Rhys since Oct last year. He has paid me in bits and pieces and has made many promises he has not kept. He owes me $3000 and is not returning my calls and text since mid December. I will be taking action against him. This guy is a liar, and people should be aware of him and his dodginess. Excellent article exposing this ratbag.

    • Damon Mudgway

      And bravo for your comment peacemaker. Helps build a picture so others can avoid have dealings with him.

    • SamanthaW

      I too was employed by Rhys for a very short stint (1month)… But after his many sporadic emails and texts and not receiving anything in writing I gave up! Knew something was dodgy!

      • Peacemaker

        when did u work for him Samantha and what did u do. I always wondered who he hoodwinked before me

  • Cadwallader

    More sizzle than steak. These loud mouths are not generally worth suing. If you shake him a few times I wager there’ll be next to no assets, unpaid debts, unpaid rent and the IRD will be claiming anything that may come his way. When the present venture collapses he’ll be selling mortgages or real estate. A destructive flake in other words.

  • Woody

    ” Māori Business Development”

    There is a big red flag right there.

    • Tom

      And an oxymoron too.

      • willtin

        A bit unkind, but I guess that depends on which side of the Tiriti you are on.

  • connedtoo

    All staff were contractors though Rhys kept referred to them as
    staff….ratbag alright…endless promises to no end…but this is a
    classic con job…they get to you through people you know and trust. Apparently his business partners do not know what he is up too or who he employs.
    Giving the benefit of the doubt as a start-up business because of a
    great concept btw…no-one else should fall for this trick. …welove….bollocks!

    He started a business without having the
    money to pay for it…it’s called trading while insolvent….it’s
    against the law. All the vague comments, lack of proof, personal
    meetings, never meeting other contractors…no office…should have been warning signs…..but we were too keen to make it work, I guess…..He was just stringing us along….he even dared ask for forgiveness recently because it all got out of hand as the business grew too fast…but at the same time he still had no money to offer…nothing at all…just more empty promises about paying the bills within the next few months. Even a part payment, promised to be made within a week, never eventuated. He’s reportedly running a sales team in Manukau that is doing well…..He owes me $4,000.