LESSONS TO BE LEARNT

The AAAA cautions members to take heed of lessons which can be learnt from a recent ACCC judgement

Online spare parts retailer Big Warehouse recently paid a $12,600 penalty after the ACCC issued an infringement notice for allegedly breaching the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by misleading a consumer about their consumer guarantee rights in relation to spare parts they had ordered.
In addition to paying this penalty, Big Warehouse provided a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC in which it admits it was likely to have contravened the ACL by representing to consumers that:
• spare parts were available for dispatch, when in fact they needed to be ordered from the manufacturer;
• spare parts were compatible with the model of electrical appliance purchased by the consumer, when this was not the case;
• the consumer was not entitled to a full refund or replacement where:
– a spare part ordered was not supplied within a reasonable time after payment was made;
– a spare part was not compatible with the electrical appliance set out in the consumer’s order; or
– a spare part was damaged during delivery and the consumer had not purchased insurance from Big Warehouse. 
“While this judgement relates to a company in the electrical appliances industry, there is no doubt the ACCC is watching and there are some key lessons to be taken from this judgement for those within the aftermarket,” AAAA Director of Advocacy, Marketing and Research, Lesley Yates, said.
“While the fine in this case was on the smaller side, it is also quite likely we could see increases in fines in the future as the ACCC could see this ruling as its signal to the market as to the practices they see as contravening Australian Consumer Law.”

For more information, go to www.accc.gov.au