ACCC embarrasses retail group, sends message to other business owners

By Patrick Avenell

The ACCC has slammed a South Australian barbeque retailer for producing illusory and misleading advertising to drum up business for a new store opening.

Ray’s Outdoors (Harbin Pty Ltd) had advertised a sale in the Advertiser in conjunction with the opening of a new store in Elizabeth. This advertisement listed a Rio Grand barbeque for $99, marked down from $299.99. After investigating this claim, the ACCC began undertaking against Ray’s Outdoors, claiming that the sale price of the barbecue before the sale was not the amount listed in the ad. The Federal Court agreed.

“The court found the advertisement misrepresented what customers would have paid for the barbeque immediately before the sale and what customers would have saved by buying it during the sale.  Contrary to the price representation, the price paid by customers before the sale was less than the strike through price,” said an ACCC spokesperson.

As punishment for this misleading advertising, Ray’s Outdoors was ordered to place a corrective advertisement in the Advertiser and to play legal and court costs.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel advised other retailers to learn for Ray’s mistake, and not to participate in misleading advertising.

"Advertised discounts must be real and not illusory.  It is also important that businesses put systems in place to ensure advertising is accurate before it is released," said Samuel.  "This decision highlights the need for businesses to have a current trade practices law compliance program in place and to continue to review its systems for placing advertising."

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