Truck shop fines near $1 million
Two mobile traders have been fined a total of more than $183,000 and been ordered to return nearly $71,000 in fees to their customers.
The sentences bring to just under $882,000 the total fines imposed by the courts since the Commerce Commission released the findings of a year-long project looking at mobile traders, or truck shops, in August 2015.
Commissioner Anna Rawlings says 13 prosecutions have been completed or are before the courts.
"The growing total in fines shows the seriousness with which the courts and the commission regard this sort of offending," she said.
In one of the two latest sentences, Budget Warehouse Ltd was fined $100,000 in the Auckland District Court and ordered to return $33,419 in fees to customers.
The company, which operated five trucks in Auckland and Hamilton selling household goods on credit, pleaded guilty to 18 charges relating to its customer contracts.
It failed to disclose the required information in its contract documents, which also misled customers about delivery guarantees and what its liability was for loss or damages caused by the products they sold.
The same court also fined Best Buy Ltd nearly $83,400 and ordered $37,180 in fees be returned to customers.
The company, which operated in Auckland and North Island towns, had faced 16 charges.
The commission says Best Buy's contracts failed to disclose important information, such as accurate payment details, and the right of the customer to apply for relief on grounds of unforeseen hardship.
One contract version was also found likely to mislead customers into wrongly thinking that Best Buy had a right to repossess the goods being purchased.