Electronics retailers pay up
The ACCC has ordered three online electronics retailers to offer refunds to customers, after receiving nearly 200 complaints about refurbished goods being advertised as new.
The electronics businesses, BXT International Ltd (BecexTech) and TCF Global Ltd (which operates Techrific and CatchDeal) admitted to contravening the Australian Consumer Law and provided court-enforceable undertakings to the ACCC.
“When you sell a product as new but it is made of used parts, you are clearly breaching the law by making a false or misleading representation,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
Rickard noted that all businesses in Australia are bound by the Australian Consumer Law and that consumer guarantees cannot be limited or excluded.
“If a product does not match descriptions made by a salesperson or on a business’ website, consumers can seek remedies from the retailer, including a replacement or a refund,” she said.
Until September 2017, BecexTech, Techrific and CatchDeal advertised electronic goods such as mobile phones and tablet computers as ‘new’, when they were in fact refurbished.
One consumer spent $608.95 on an Apple iPhone 6 from BecexTech, believing that the product was new. After the iPhone failed within three days, the consumer took the phone to an Apple store only to be told that that same phone had previously been purchased two years prior in the United States.
Over the last year, the ACCC received 96 complaints about BecexTech, 34 complaints about Techrific and 60 complaints about CatchDeal.
BecexTech also admitted to misleading consumers about their rights by falsely claiming they were not bound by the Australian Consumer Law as they were incorporated overseas.
Both BXT International and TCF Global have undertaken to:
- clarify when products are refurbished or are not Australian market versions of those products on their website
- contact and offer redress to certain consumers who were either misled into purchasing refurbished products or were misled as to their rights under the ACL.
- implement an ACL compliance program, including staff training and regular reviews;
- publish a notice notifying consumers about these undertaking and not engage in this type of conduct any further.
BXT International has also undertaken to:
- cease its practice of ‘pre-selecting’ for purchase items additional to those which a consumer actually intends to purchase; and
- revise its warranty policy to clarify it does not limit or exclude consumer guarantees.