The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court in Sydney against eleven Harvey Norman franchisees for allegedly misrepresenting consumer rights.
The Harvey Norman franchisees are:
- Avitalb Pty Limited, located in Albany, Western Australia
- Bunavit Pty Limited, located in Bundall, Queensland
- Camavit Pty Limited, located in Campbelltown, New South Wales
- Gordon Superstore Pty Limited, located in Gordon, New South Wales
- HP Superstore Pty Limited, located in Hoppers Crossing, Victoria
- Ipavit Pty Limited, located in Ipswich, Queensland
- Launceston Superstore Pty Limited, located in Launceston, Tasmania
- Mandurvit Pty Limited, located in Mandurah, Western Australia
- Moonah Superstore Pty Limited, located in Moonah, Tasmania
- Oxteha Pty Limited, located in Oxley, Queensland, and
- Salecomp Pty Limited, located in Sale, Victoria.
The ACCC alleges that the franchisees engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by making false or misleading representations to consumers about their rights under the consumer guarantee provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
“The Australian Consumer Law provides consumers with rights to certain remedies from retailers and manufacturers when goods fail to comply with the consumer guarantee provisions, including that goods are of acceptable quality and fit for the purpose for which they were sold,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“These rights cannot be excluded, restricted or modified.”
“For example, if an item purchased breaks down within a short time of being puchased, the consumer may be entitled to a refund or a replacement item.”
The ACCC alleges that the franchisees misled consumers about these rights by making representations including that:
- the franchisee had no obligation to provide remedies for damaged goods unless notified within a specific period of time such as 24 hours or 14 days
- the franchisee had no obligation to provide remedies for goods still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty
- the franchisee had no obligation to provide refunds or replacements for particular items such as large appliances or items priced below a certain amount, and
- consumers must pay a fee for the repair and return of faulty products.
The court orders the ACCC is seeking include penalties, declarations, injunctions and costs.
Full story here.