The Federal Court recently ordered a further three Harvey Norman franchisees, Gordon Superstore Pty Ltd, Mandurvit Pty Ltd, and Avitalb Pty Ltd, to pay a total of $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, Oxteha Pty Ltd, to pay a pecuniary penalty of $26,000.
The nine judgments to date in proceedings brought by the ACCC against Harvey Norman franchisees have led to penalties of $234,000.
While the allegations made by the ACCC against each of the franchisees differ, examples of the misrepresentations made by sales representatives and store managers include:
- the franchisee had no obligation to provide a remedy while the relevant product was still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty;
- the franchisee had no obligation to provide consumers with a choice of remedy if the relevant product was supplied more than three months ago; and
- the consumer would have to pay a postage and handling fee before the relevant product could be returned from the manufacturer.