A total of four Harvey Norman franchisees were found to have misled customers over their consumer rights by the Federal Court. Stores in Gordon (NSW), Mandurah (WA), Albany (WA) and Oxley (QLD) were found to have made misleading representations to consumers. The Federal Court found that sales representatives or store managers in each of the stores had made false oral representations as to the rights of consumers. In each case the allegations against the stores differed; some misrepresentations made by the stores included:
- That the franchisee had no requirement to provide a remedy where the product was covered by the manufacturers warranty;
- There was no obligation to provide any remedy to a product purchased more than 3 months ago; and
- That a consumer was required to pay postage and handling so as to have the product returned to the manufacturer.
The franchisees were required to pay pecuniary penalties in the range of:
- Oxley Store – $26,000;
- Gordon Store – $25,000;
- Mandurah Store – $25,000;
- Albany Store – $10,000.
The ACCC provides comprehensive guides for both consumers and businesses on the rights of consumers. These guide can be found at http://www.accc.gov.au/.