Panasonic misled consumers: ACCC victory

By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: Suppliers planning Christmas promotions will take heed of the Federal Court hearing yesterday that found Panasonic misled consumers in its Bouns Wii Promotion.

The ACCC took Panasonic to court in 2008 over apparently deceptive advertising which offered consumers a free Nintendo Wii with the purchase of a plasma TV.

From 23 November to 24 December 2008, Panasonic publicised a bonus Nintendo Wii by redemption to all consumers who purchased a selected Full HD Viera Plasma television.

The court found Panasonic failed to adequately disclose important conditions of the promotion, thus engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct in contravention of section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Consumers could only make a valid claim providing Panasonic with the television’s serial number – only obtained upon delivery of the product – within 14 days of purchase.

However, there was no assurance a consumer would receive their television within 14 days to submit a valid claim to Panasonic.

As well as a declaration, the court ordered that Panasonic establish and maintain a trade practices compliance program for three years to ensure that Panasonic staff are aware of their legal obligations. Panasonic was also ordered to pay the ACCC's costs.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said it is not enough to give the impression that conditions apply to an offer in circumstances where particularly unusual conditions may render a consumer ineligible to receive the goods or services offered.

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