ACCC Fines Electronics Retailer Over Misleading Advertising

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that electronics retailer Harvey Norman has received a $A1.25 million fine in the Federal Court at Brisbane due to a misleading advertisement in its catalogues in September 2010. According to the ACCC, the nationwide advertisements of the sale of 3D televisions in Harvey Norman’s catalogues “created the ‘misleading and deceptive’ impression that consumers in all places where the catalogue was distributed could buy and use a 3D television to watch the 2010 AFL and NRL grand finals in 3D format”, when in fact 3D broadcasts were not available in all parts of the country.

Harvey Norman was also found to have engaged in broader misleading conduct between October 2008 and July 2011, regarding catalogue and website advertising containing misleading representations. According to the ACCC, “[t]he dominant and plain impression given by both the catalogues and the website was that the goods advertised were available at Harvey Norman stores generally”. In reality “there was a condition in all the catalogues that the offers in them were only being made by a single store in each State or Territory, while the website had a condition that the offers appearing on it were only being made by one store in Australia”.
ACCC’s media release (8 December 2011)

Related news item:
The Age: Harvey Norman fined for misleading ad (9 December 2011)
(Source: ACCC; The Age)