By Patrick Avenell

A fifth Harvey Norman franchisee has been hit with a sizable fine by the Federal Court for making false or misleading statements concerning a customer’s rights.

The franchisee at Campbelltown, in western Sydney, New South Wales, was fined $32,000, one week after four other franchisees were fined a combined $116,000 for similar offences.

“As with last Friday’s penalties against four other Harvey Norman franchisees, this penalty sends a message to all businesses that they must not mislead consumers about their rights to repair, replacement or refund for faulty goods under the Australian Consumer Law,” said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.

“Complaints about consumer guarantees represent a quarter of the consumer protection complaints that the ACCC receives each year. Misleading conduct in relation to consumer guarantees remains an enforcement priority for the ACCC.”

The Campbelltown franchisee was found to have made misrepresentations, including that:

  •     The franchisee had no obligation to provide a refund for faulty goods supplied;
  •     The franchisee had no obligation to provide a remedy other than an exchange or credit that had to be finalised within a few weeks; and
  •     The franchisee had no obligation to provide a remedy independently of the relevant product manufacture

This article was first published on Appliance Retailer.