The ACCC has re-instituted proceedings against nine Harvey Norman franchisees for alleged misrepresentation of consumer rights.
The ACCC first issued proceedings in the Federal Court in November of 2012, alleging that 11 franchisees in different states had misrepresented consumer rights. The Court determined that these matters were unrelated and should be heard seperately. The ACCC has now instituted new separate preceedings against nine of the franchisees removed from the initial proceedings.
The ACCC's allegations against each of the franchisees differ, however, examples of the alleged misrepresentations include representations that:
the franchisee had no obligation to provide remedies for damaged goods unless notified within a specific period of time such as 24 hours or 14 days
the franchisee had no obligation to provide remedies for goods still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, and
consumers must pay a fee for the repair and return of faulty products.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said it was important for these matters to be considered by the court, noting that the rights of consumers to remedies from retailers and manufacturers "cannot be excluded, restricted or modified." This is canvassed in Section 64 of the Australian Consumer Law - Guarantees not to be excluded etc. by contract.
The ACCC will seek penalties, declarations, injunctions and costs against each of the franchisees.
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