By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Six Harvey Norman franchisees have been forced to pay thousands of dollars in fines for not stocking cameras as advertised in their catalogue, according to the ACCC.

The West Australian franchisees each paid $6,600 for advertising the Kodak “Playsport” pocket video camera for $218 in a printed catalogue, without actually offering the stock. The catalogue was circulated in Perth in the 13 November 2010 edition of The Weekend West newspaper.

 ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel argued that the advertising contravened the Trade Practices Act 1974.

“Promotional material must be accurate and there must be adequate stock of the advertised product to meet reasonable demand, otherwise businesses risk bait advertising which is illegal,” Samuel said. "Infringement notices increase the remedies available to the ACCC to quickly address this type of conduct and promote compliance with the law.”

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The announcement of these fines comes just one day after the ACCC boasted of $3.6 million in revenue, derived from fines issued under new Australian Consumer laws.

According to the ACCC, “Once an infringement notice penalty is paid, the ACCC cannot begin court proceedings over the alleged contravention.

“The payment of an infringement notice penalty is not an admission of a contravention of the Act. The ACCC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.”

Franchisees that were issued fines, according to the ACCC:

Armastore Pty Ltd, which operatesHarvey Norman Belmont computer franchise.
CW Superstore Pty Ltd, which operates the Harvey Norman City West computer franchise.
Ellicom Pty Ltd , which operates the Harvey Norman Osborne Park computer franchise.
Mildlander Pty Ltd, which operates the Harvey Norman Midland computer franchise.
Kenstore Pty Ltd, which operates the Harvey Norman Port Kennedy computer franchise.

We have no cameras today: the Kodak camera that six Harvey Norman franchisees failed to stock.