Harvey Norman franchisee to pay $52,000 in penalties

Bunavit gets penalties for false or misleading representations about consumer rights

Harvey Norman franchisee to pay penalties of $52,000

Harvey Norman franchisee to pay penalties of $52,000

Harvey Norman franchisee, Bunavit, has been slapped with $52,000 in penalties by the Federal Court for making false or misleading representations regarding consumer guarantee rights, in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The announcement follows proceedings that were commenced by the ACCC against Gordon Superstore on November 20, 2012 and nine other Harvey Norman franchisees (including Bunavit) on June 13, 2013. Subsequently, the ACCC and each of the ten Harvey Norman franchisees agreed on joint submissions and proposed orders to be put to the court for consideration.

The court held that sales representatives at the Harvey Norman Superstore operated by Bunavit in Bundall, Queensland made ten false or misleading representations concerning the existence, exclusion or effect of a guarantee or right.

They made statements to two consumers which represented that Bunavit had no obligation to provide a remedy and the consumer would need to pursue the manufacturer’s warranty directly with the manufacturer and could not assist further unless the consumer paid for some or all of the cost of the repair.

Under the Australian Consumer Law when consumers buy products, they come with a guarantee that they will be of acceptable quality; the guarantee of acceptable quality is in addition to any manufacturer’s warranty; the guarantee of acceptable quality is not limited to the period of the manufacturer’s warranty; and if the product is not of acceptable quality, consumers are entitled to remedies, such as a refund, replacement or repair, at no cost to the consumer.

The ACCC said it has obtained penalty orders totalling $286,000 against ten Harvey Norman franchisees in respect of false or misleading representations regarding consumer guarantees.

In imposing penalties of $52,000 against Bunavit, ACCC said Justice Dowsett took into account that there were more impugned statements than in the other comparable cases, the conduct continued over a longer period, more staff members were involved and Bunavit’s turnover and profit were substantially higher than those of the other offending companies.

However, unlike some of the other cases, none of Bunavit’s senior staff were involved.

ACCC acting chair, Dr Michael Schaper, said products sold in Australia come with a consumer guarantee under the Australian Consumer Law that they will be of acceptable quality. Faulty products must be repaired, replaced, or a refund must be provided by the retailer.

“This penalty is a timely reminder to all businesses, whether large or small, that they must not mislead consumers about consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law.

“Businesses are expected to take appropriate and effective steps to ensure that their staff understand the rights of consumers and the obligations of businesses under the consumer guarantees provided by the Australian Consumer Law,” Schaper said.

ACCC also said the Federal Court declined to make declarations as it considered the penalties were sufficient to address the conduct, in addition to declining to order injunctions because Bunavit has ceased trading

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags acccHarvey Normanfederal courtchargesfranchiseesbunavit

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Hafizah Osman
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?