The ACCC has nabbed online electronic retailers BecexTech, Techrific and CatchDeal for advertising smartphones and tablets as “new” when they were actually refurbished.
The companies have admitted their actions contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) had have provided court-enforceable undertakings to the ACCC.
BecexTech is owned by BXT International Ltd, whilst Techrific and CatchDeal are operated by TCF Global Ltd.
The consumer watchdog claims over the past year it has received 96 complaints about BecexTech, 34 complaints about Techrific and 60 complaints about CatchDeal.
The ACCC states that words like ‘New Sealed Box’ were used to advertise refurbished phones. Consumers who experienced faults with their device took the item to their Apple/Samsung repairer to fix, where they were informed their smartphone was infact a refurbished model, brandished with replacement third-party components.
BecexTech has also admitted to misleading consumers about their rights. The company falsely informed consumers that they were not bound by Australian Consumer Law because they were incorporated overseas.
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard, has affirmed such information is in fact incorect:
“If you carry on a business in Australia, you are bound by the Australian Consumer Law. All Australian consumers are protected by consumer guarantees, and they cannot be limited or excluded”
“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”
“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”.
Below is a summary of the undertakings both companies have pledged to the ACCC:
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.