Godfreys accused of misleading advertising

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Vacuum cleaner retailer Godfreys has made court enforceable undertakings to the ACCC after the chain was found to have misled customers during a marketing campaign. The incident in question occurred in February 2007 and involved the advertising of a Nilfisk A100 vacuum cleaner.

The vacuum cleaner was advertised at being half price, but this was a new product on the local market and was being sold exclusively through Godfreys. In some instances, signs at Godfreys stores were drawn up to read, “Clean Up Sale! Nilfisk $249 ½ Price $124.50” (sic).

As a result of this, Godfreys has admitted that they contravened the Trade Practices Act 1974 (section 52) by providing misleading or deceptive representations of the product.

The undertaking enforced on Godfreys includes:

– Refraining from comparative price advertising when the product has not already been previously available.
– Arranging for notice to displayed in affected stores.
– Publishing a corrective notice in the statewide catalogue.
– Establish and implementing a trade practice law compliance program.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said, “Advertised discounts must be real and not illusory. Comparative price advertising is a common practice in a number of industries and the ACCC will not hesitate to act in situations where comparative price advertising is used in such a way that may mislead customers.”

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