Four Harvey Norman franchise stores have been fined a total of $116,000 for making false or misleading representations to customers about consumer guarantee rights.
And another six stores are before the Federal Court.
These are the four stores and the fines:
- Launceston Superstore Pty Ltd, in Launceston, Tasmania ($32,000)
- Moonah Superstore Pty Ltd, in Moonah, Tasmania ($28,000)
- HP Superstore Pty Ltd, in Hoppers Crossing, Victoria ($28,000)
- Salecomp Pty Ltd, in Sale, Victoria ($28,000)
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commissions (ACCC) says the misrepresentations differed store by store but here’s a selection of false claims:
- the store had no obligation to provide remedies for damaged goods unless notified within a short specified period, such as 14 days.
- no obligation to provide an exchange or refund for faulty goods supplied.
- no obligation to provide a remedy independently of the relevant product manufacturer.
The Launceston Superstore Pty Ltd also stated on receipts that ‘No claims will be honoured on damaged goods unless notified within 24 hours of delivery or pick-up’.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said: “These penalties send a strong message to all businesses, including franchisees, that they must not mislead consumers about their rights to repair, replacement or refund for faulty goods under the Australian Consumer Law.”
“Complaints about consumer guarantees represent a quarter of the consumer protection complaints that the ACCC receives each year.”
The ACCC is awaiting judgment against another six Harvey Norman franchisees for similar conduct.