Panasonic In Court Over Nintendo Wii Plasma Offer

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has slammed a Panasonic promotion offering a bonus Nintendo Wii with its Viera range of plasma TVs.

The ACCC has even gone as far as initiating legal proceedings in the Federal Court against the consumer electronics giant, claiming that Panasonic engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in offering the bonus Nintendo Wiis with the purchase of its Plasma TVs.

The ACCC claims that between 23 November and 24 December 2008, Panasonic published advertisements offering bonus Nintendo Wii gaming consoles by redemption to all consumers who purchased a selected Full HD Viera Plasma television.

The ACCC alleges that contrary to Panasonic’s advertising, consumers could only make a valid claim for the bonus Wii by providing Panasonic with the television’s serial number, which could only be obtained upon delivery of the television.
There was no guarantee a consumer would receive their television within sufficient time to identify its serial number and submit a valid claim to Panasonic.

Accordingly, the ACCC alleges that by publishing advertisements offering bonus Wiis and failing to adequately disclose important conditions of the promotion, Panasonic engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in contravention of section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The ACCC is seeking:

Declarations that Panasonic contravened section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974, an injunction corrective advertising an order that Panasonic review and revise its internal business operations, and an order that Panasonic establish and maintain a compliance program, and costs.

The proceedings utilise the Fast Track List in the South Australian registry of the Federal Court, which is intended to streamline court procedures in matters of this nature, thereby reducing the time and cost of litigation.

The matter has been listed for a scheduling conference before Justice Mansfield in the Federal Court on 17 February 2010.

SmartHouse was unable to contact a Panasonic executive to make a comment.

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