The sole operator of the online electronics store Electronic Bazaar has been ordered to pay penalties totalling $100,000 by the Federal Court for misleading consumers, after the ACCC launched legal action in December 2014.
The Court found that Dhruv Chopra — the operator of the site which sold camcorders, digital cameras, mobile phones, laptops, projectors, and other electronics — had contravened Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Court declared that since at least 21 May 2014, Chopra had made false or misleading representations to consumers that they were not entitled to a repair, refund or replacement for goods in various circumstances, such as where the goods were no longer under an express warranty, where the goods had been used or were not in their original packaging, or unless a claim was made within a specified time period.
The Court also declared that on four separate occasions between June 2012 and July 2014, Chopra accepted payment for goods but failed to supply those goods to consumers “within a specified, or reasonable, timeframe.”
Chopra was also found to have made false or misleading representations that consumers’ refund rights were against a company called “Unreal Technologies Private Limited” or “Unreal Technology Private Limited”, when neither of those companies existed.
“The Court’s decision to impose a significant penalty on Mr Chopra, a sole trader, for misrepresenting consumers’ refund and warranty rights makes it clear that this conduct is a serious breach of the Australian Consumer Law,” Chairman Rod Sims said. “A consumer’s right to a refund, repair, or replacement in certain circumstances under the ACL consumer guarantees cannot be excluded or modified by terms or conditions published on a website.
“The penalty imposed in respect of failure to supply goods within a specified or reasonable timeframe also highlights the need for online traders to ensure that when accepting payments for goods, they must to be able to supply those goods within the stated timeframe, or otherwise within a reasonable period,” Sims said.