In 2012 we saw
some heavy penalties for misleading and deceptive conduct under
the new Australian Consumer Law regime, and the ACCC is showing no
signs of slowing down.
This time it's taking Dulux to task on its advertising of
two types of paint that Dulux claimed would reduce interior
temperatures, energy consumption costs and a home's carbon
footprint, when compared to standard paint of the same colour.
The ACCC alleges that Dulux's claims on its website,
Facebook page, print, TV and paint tins were made without
reasonable grounds. In order to get off now, Dulux will have to
show that the superpowers of its paint can be supported by
scientific or technical evidence.
Comparative advertising is the most dangerous kind there is,
because there's zero margin for error and you need to be able
to back yourself if the ACCC comes knocking.
Harvey in hot water again
A year on from the 3D TV debacle the ACCC has again taken aim at
11 Harvey Norman franchises across Australia for allegedly
misleading its customers about their legal rights to warranties by
representing to customers that:
they could only get a refund if they gave notice of the defect
within a certain time frame;
goods already covered by the manufacturer's warranty may
not fall under Harvey Norman's warranty; and
goods below a certain price couldn't be refunded or
In all 11 cases the representations were made orally by
employees of the franchisees.
The consumer guarantees under the ACL can't be excluded,
modified or restricted in any way, regardless of whether a retailer
or manufacturer offers additional warranties on top.
The ACCC is seeking penalties, costs, declarations and
injunctions against Harvey Norman, and we reckon this one is going
to sting pretty bad.
Hewlett Packard on the dodgy warranty bandwagon
We're guessing the "everyone else is doing it"
excuse is just not going to fly with the ACCC. Like its
competitors, Hewlett Packard is being challenged about statements
on its website, which the ACCC says imply that consumers cannot
return or exchange products they just purchased online.
Some of the statements under fire include that customers must
have had a faulty HP product repaired multiple times before they
are entitled to receive a replacement and that following the expiry
of that express warranty period, HP would repair its faulty
products only on the condition that customers would pay for such
If proved the breaches could set HP up for penalties of $1.1
million as well as injunctions and corrective advertising
Catch of the year - Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines Cargo
and Thai Airways nailed for price fixing
Asia-Pacific airlines continue to buckle as the crackdown on the
global air freight cartel unravels.
Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines Cargo have been ordered
(by consent) to pay a whopping $23 million in penalties for their
part in the cartel activity. Singapore Airlines Cargo attempted to
fix rates for meat exports going to US and Australian troops
stationed in the Middle East. Cathay Pacific gave effect to price
understandings, relating to fuel and security surcharges for
airfreight services between Singapore and Australia AND attempted
to fix the price, with Qantas, for airfreight services between Hong
Kong and Australia.
Thai Airways is being ordered to cough up $7.5 million for its
involvement in setting fuel surcharges between 2001 and 2005 and
customs fees between 2004 and 2005.
The last airlines standing are Air New Zealand and Garuda, who
are continuing to deny everything notwithstanding that a total of
13 airlines have now caved and paid a total of $98.5 million in
fines for taking part in the global air-freight cartel.
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The Sportscraft refunds and returns policy limitations went beyond consumer's rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
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