It seems that doorknockers and telemarketers just can't stay
out of trouble. In the firing line this time is Red Energy, an
energy retailer whose telemarketers made unsolicited calls to
consumers to get them to switch to Red Energy.
The sales pitch included telling consumers that Red Energy was
affiliated with their energy supplier and that the call wasn't
a sales call. They also said that energy providers in NSW had to
charge the same price and that the prices were regulated by the
government, both of which are untrue.
Unfortunately, some people fell for the act. However, the ACCC
And the penalty? Four infringement notices adding up to
More misleading claims from Coles
Unsurprisingly, consumer laws say that if you are going to tell
people where your goods are from, then you need to be accurate.
Following recent trouble for its misleading bakery claims,
supermarket giant Coles was in hot water again, this time for
placing signs over oranges, kiwis, asparagus and almonds which read
"Helping Australia Grow" along with an "Australian
The logical conclusion was that the produce had been grown in
Alas, no. Turns out the produce was grown overseas and imported
into Australia. Even though the real country of origin was
displayed either on the produce itself, its packaging or the
display bin, the ACCC considered that those identifiers weren't
sufficient to dispel the impression that the produce was grown in
As a result, Coles coughed up $61,200 for the six infringement
How to add insult to injury
As if car repairs weren't already expensive enough, a former
Europcar franchisee, BAJV Pty Ltd (BAJV), was deliberately
overcharging customers for the cost of hire car repairs. They'd
either inflate the cost estimate, or get two quotes, charge for the
higher one and pocket the difference. Genius.
The Federal Court was unimpressed with BAJV's conduct,
labelling it unconscionable and misleading, and handed out
penalties of $200,000 to BAJV and $40,000 to BAJV's
HP pays massive penalties for misrepresentations about consumer
Hewlett Packard (HP) recently consented to a massive $3 million
in penalties for making misleading representations about consumer
HP was in trouble for telling consumers that:
remedies for faulty goods were at HP's discretion;
products purchased online could only be returned at HP's
sole discretion; and
the warranty period was limited to the express warranty period
and customers would need to pay for remedies outside that
The rules are clear about consumer guarantees under the
legislation: you can't opt out and you can't be shady about
consumers' rights. Make sure your policies are up to
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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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