Harvey Norman franchisee gets slapped with $52,000 in penalties
A Harvey Norman franchisee is the latest offender to lose to consumer watch dog, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). Found to have made false and misleading representations in relation to consumer guarantee rights, Bunavit Pty Ltd was ordered to a pay a total of $52,000 in penalties.
Representations that landed Bunavit Pty Ltd on the ACCC’s radar included:
- Customers seeking remedies for faulty or unsatisfactory goods were required to liaise directly with the manufacturer and that no remedy could be offered by Harvey Norman; and
- Harvey Norman was unable to assist disgruntled customers further unless a full or part payment was received for the repair of goods.
At present, the ACCC has issued in excess of $286,000 in disciplinary penalties against ten Harvey Norman franchisees for similar conduct.
Dr Michael Schaper, ACCC Acting Chair, reminded consumers that “products sold in Australia come with a consumer guarantee under the Australian Consumer Law [and can expect] that they will be of acceptable quality. Faulty products must be repaired, replaced, or a refund must be provided by the retailer.”
The Federal Court order against Bunavit Pty Ltd and other Harvey Norman franchisees has reaffirmed their rigid stance regarding false and misleading representations regarding consumer guarantee rights. This example serves as a caution to businesses to ensure that employees understand the obligations of the business to uphold consumer rights.
If you have any questions about your obligations regarding consumer rights or franchising please contact: