Noel Leeming fined after repeatedly lying to customers about their rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act

  • 15/12/2018

Noel Leeming has been fined $200,000 dollars for misleading customers.

The company has been convicted of eight charges under the Fair Trading Act.

Customers were misled about their right to seek remedies for faulty goods and their rights to a refund or replacement of a faulty product, under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).

This prosecution related to multiple consumers in multiple locations,” said Commissioner Anna Rawlings.

"It was not isolated or one-off conduct. Consumers complained to Noel Leeming about products and were entitled to have their complaints treated seriously, investigated properly and remedied where appropriate. Instead they were misled - sometimes repeatedly - about their rights under the law, at a moment when it really mattered to consumers that their legal rights were honoured."

The Commerce Commission says Noel Leeming has received warnings three times about potential misleading.

Judge Nicola Mathers at sentencing said there were "direct and significant departures from the truth in every case… consumers were denied their rights and had real difficulty dealing with Noel Leeming."

Examples of things Noel Leeming did wrong include:

saying that making claims under the CGA about an iPhone had to be negotiated with Apple directly

claiming the CGA "is not effective for" Noel Leeming

telling a consumer they weren't entitled to a refund despite false representations made about the suitability of a mobile phone

telling a consumer they had to contact Microsoft about a faulty product

claiming Noel Leeming could repair a fridge as many times as it liked; and that the consumer could only get a store credit to purchase another fridge

claiming mobile phones are only replaced within 14 days, and a new phone could only be obtained if a fault occurs three times.

"These statements are simply wrong," said Ms Rawlings. "The CGA entitles consumers to receive a remedy from Noel Leeming, as the supplier. A supplier cannot refuse to deal with its customers and refer them to the manufacturer.

"The CGA is also clear about the circumstances in which a refund or replacement is available. These statements should not have been made to consumers."