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Harvey Norman franchisees fined for misleading consumers about their rights

By Claire Barron - 20 Jan 2016

Do you and your staff know the rules regarding consumer rights and guarantees in New Zealand? The cost of not knowing can be high as Harvey Norman operators recently learned.

Ten Australian Harvey Norman franchisees have been fined AUD286,000 for making false or misleading representations about consumer guarantees.

One franchisee stated it had no obligation to provide a remedy where goods were not of acceptable quality. It directed the consumer to pursue the manufacturer's warranty directly with the manufacturer. The franchisee also stated it could not assist further unless the consumer paid for some or all of the cost of repair.

It appears this franchisee was not aware that all products sold in Australia come with a guarantee imposed by law that they will be of acceptable quality. The same applies in New Zealand. The law requires that faulty products must be repaired, replaced or a refund provided by the retailer. Telling consumers something different breaches the law.

Regardless of the size of your business, if you are a retailer, it is crucial you and your staff understand your obligations to consumers and what rights consumers have. Your terms of trade, staff training and returns procedures must reflect those consumer rights.

Our commercial team are specialists in the area of consumer rights. Contact them today for expert advice on consumer law.


Craig Nelson

Claire Barron


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