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Thread: Hardly Normal franchisee done by ACCC for misleading public (and now Apple)

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    Hardly Normal franchisee done by ACCC for misleading public (and now Apple)

    http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release...ding-consumers

    Harvey Norman franchisee pays for misleading consumers 13 December 2013


    The Federal Court has ordered another Harvey Norman franchisee to pay $32,000 in civil pecuniary penalties for making false or misleading representations regarding consumer guarantee rights.
    The Court found that Camavit Pty Ltd (Camavit), which is located in Campbelltown, New South Wales, made a number of false or misleading representations to consumers about their consumer guarantee rights. Examples of the misrepresentations made by Camavit include representations that:

    • the franchisee had no obligation to provide a refund for faulty goods supplied;
    • the franchisee had no obligation to provide a remedy other than an exchange or credit that had to be finalised within a few weeks; and
    • the franchisee had no obligation to provide a remedy independently of the relevant product manufacturer.

    The above representations were made orally by sales representatives or store managers over a period of several months in 2012.
    “As with last Friday’s penalties against four other Harvey Norman franchisees, this penalty sends a message to all businesses that they must not mislead consumers about their rights to repair, replacement or refund for faulty goods under the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
    “Complaints about consumer guarantees represent a quarter of the consumer protection complaints that the ACCC receives each year. Misleading conduct in relation to consumer guarantees remains an enforcement priority for the ACCC.”
    In addition to penalties, the Court also made orders including declarations and injunctions. Camavit Pty Ltd will also be required to display in-store corrective notices and implement a consumer law compliance program.
    Proceedings were issued against Camavit on 13 June 2013. Subsequently, the ACCC and Camavit came to an agreed settlement on the matter, with agreed orders put to the Court for consideration.
    The judgment follows Federal Court orders on 6 December 2013 against four other Harvey Norman franchisees, requiring them to pay civil pecuniary penalties totalling $116,000 for each making false or misleading representations to customers about their consumer guarantee rights.
    The ACCC is awaiting judgment in proceedings against another five Harvey Norman franchisees for similar conduct, where the ACCC is seeking court orders including penalties, declarations, injunctions, corrective notices and compliance training.
    The Australian Consumer Law gives consumers a set of rights called consumer guarantees for all goods purchased after 1 January 2011. These guarantees include a guarantee that:

    • goods will be of acceptable quality;
    • goods will be fit for any disclosed purpose;
    • goods will match any description under which it is sold;
    • goods will have spare parts available for a reasonable time; and
    • all express warranties offered will be honoured.

    For goods purchased on or after 1 January 2011, where a good develops a major fault, consumers have a right to a replacement or refund from the supplier of the good. For goods that develop a minor fault, a consumer has a right to have the good remedied (at the suppliers discretion) within a reasonable time. If the supplier doesn’t do so, the consumer can either reject the goods and get a refund or have the problem fixed and recover reasonable costs of doing so from the supplier.
    For further information, see Consumer rights & guarantees.


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    Apple... http://www.theage.com.au/digital-lif...218-2zkkr.html

    Apple has been lying to consumers about its obligation to replace or repair faulty computers, iPhones, iPads and iPods, but has now promised to retrain staff and reassess claims stretching back two years following action by the competition watchdog.
    Apple misled consumers into thinking they were entitled to less recourse than the new Australian consumer law prescribes, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found.
    Apple and its suppliers told Australian consumers they were only entitled to what Apple wanted to offer them when products failed, rather than what they should have been entitled to under Australia's new consumer laws.
    "The ACCC was concerned that Apple was applying its own warranties and refund policies effectively to the exclusion of the consumer guarantees contained in the Australian Consumer Law," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
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    "This undertaking serves as an important reminder to businesses that while voluntary or express warranties can provide services in addition to the consumer guarantee rights of the ACL, they cannot replace or remove those ACL guarantee rights."
    Mr Sims added that consumer guarantees did not have a time limit, but applied for as long as "reasonable to expect given the cost and quality of the item".
    The competition watchdog could take Apple to court if it failed to follow the undertaking. Apple declined to comment when contacted by Fairfax Media.
    As part of the undertaking, Apple has promised to reassess all claims about faulty products purchased over the past two years and provide consumers with what they should be legally entitled to. The undertaking takes effect on January 6 and Apple will assess old claims for the next 90 days.
    According to the undertaking, Apple would soon publish on its website a note stating: "If you believe that you have been denied a statutory right or remedy by Apple in the past in relation to a product sold to you by Apple or did not pursue a warranty claim because of representations made to you by Apple, please contact Apple ... and your claim will be assessed."
    The ACCC found Apple and its suppliers told customers it did not have to provide a refund, repair or replace products with a "major failure", when in fact consumers should have been allowed to choose either a refund or replacement. And that consumers should have been entitled to free repairs, refunds or replacements for products with minor faults.
    The ACCC told Apple it was in breach of Australia's consumer guarantees when it told consumers they were only entitled to a full refund if goods were returned within two weeks; that it would only provide a refund or replacement if products were damaged within a year of purchase; that it was not responsible for non-Apple products sold through Apple stores; and when it only offered a store credit rather than a full refund for faulty products.
    Apple has promised to retrain staff and resellers over two years and provide consumers with more information about their rights under Australian consumer laws.
    In particular, it would keep a consumer rights page on its website for two years starting January 6 and stock ACCC brochures about consumer rights in all stores.

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