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Australian Federal Court fines Harvey Norman franchisees AU$234,000

Brian Karlovsky | May 20, 2014
Nine Harvey Norman franchisees have been ordered to pay penalties of $234,000 for misleading consumers.

Nine Harvey Norman franchisees have fined AU$234,000 for misleading consumers.

The mounting fines are the result of a Federal Court action from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission against certain Harvey Norman franchisees.

The most recent judgements have led to three franchises being ordered to pay $60,000 in civil pecuniary penalties for making false or misleading representations regarding consumer guarantee rights.

The Federal Circuit Court has also ordered another Harvey Norman franchisee to pay a pecuniary penalty of $26,000.

The initial proceedings started against Gordon Superstore in November, 2012. They were followed by nine other Harvey Norman franchisees on 13 June 2013.

So far, Nine franchisees ordered to pay total penalties of $234,000.

The four most recent franchisees are Oxteha Pty Ltd, located in Oxley, Queensland ($26,000); Gordon Superstore Pty Ltd located in Gordon, New South Wales ($25,000); Mandurvit Pty Ltd located in Mandurah, Western Australia ($25,000); and Avitalb Pty Ltd located in Albury, Western Australia ($10,000).

In each case, the Court found that each franchisee had made false or misleading representations to consumers about their consumer guarantee rights.

ACCC deputy chair, Michale Schaper said the judgments imposing penalties were a clear message to all suppliers.

"No matter how big or small, that they must not mislead consumers about their rights under the Australian Consumer Law," ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

In addition to penalties, the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court also made orders including declarations and injunctions in relation to the four franchisees.

Oxteha Pty Ltd and Gordon Superstores Pty Ltd were also ordered to display in-store corrective notices and implement a consumer law compliance program. Mandurvit Pty Ltd and Avitalb Pty Ltd had both ceased trading in May 2013.

 

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