Retailer admits to misleading ‘storewide’ sale

After the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission raised concerns, a retailer has admitted to engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct in reference to a storewide sale held in February.

Hardware chain Mitre 10 Australia Ltd has admitted that in February this year it engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and made false representations about the price of goods when it advertised a ‘20 per cent off storewide’ sale.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission raised its concerns when it noticed that the company’s TV and website advertising failed to adequately disclose that a number of products were excluded from the sale held on 13 to 14 February 2009.

Mitre 10 did not disclose that fuel, rural or agricultural products, tool hire, kitchen and bathroom packages, large kitchen appliances, trade, building materials, cafe, special orders, products sold under non-Mitre 10 trading names and gift card purchases were excluded from the sale.

According to the ACCC, the TV advertisements occurred on almost 900 occasions across two days and only included small print referring to ‘terms and conditions in store’ but did not disclose what these were. The website apparently did not refer to any terms and conditions at all.

As part of its court enforceable undertakings, Mitre 10 has undertaken not to repeat the conduct and to implement a rigorous and comprehensive trade practices compliance program designed to minimise the risk of future breaches of the consumer protection provisions of the Act.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel commented that companies must ensure terms and conditions applicable to any sale are adequately disclosed to consumers.

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