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Monday, 30 June 2014 16:03

Watchdog takes on Spreets Featured

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Australia's consumer and competition watchdog is again taking on the online group buying sector, this time alleging Spreets misled consumers.

The Australian Conmpetition and Consumer Commission today issued a warning against online daily deals retailers after launching action against Aussie website Spreets.

The ACCC claims Spreets made false representations about the price of some deals, consumers' ability to redeem vouchers and their rights to a refund, during 2011 and 2012.

Spreets was a major player in the online group buying scene but since in 2013 it stopped selling its own coupons, and now only gathers and publishes deals offered by other retailers and online groups.

Spreets is owned by Yahoo!7.

Chairman Rod Sims said many complaints have been received by the ACCC since online group buying emerged in 2010.

"Businesses selling to consumers online have the same obligations under the Australian Consumer Law as all other businesses, and consumer guarantees, including refund rights, apply when consumers purchase online," Mr Sims said.

"Online businesses must ensure that they do not mislead consumers and that the price and any restrictions on a deal being offered are clearly and accurately stated."

The watchdog has already successfully pursued Scoopon for misleading conduct, with that retailer fined $1 million in December for misleading consumers about prices and their refund rights, and deceiving businesses about the risks involved in offering a deal through Scoopon.

Spreets is now facing possible fines as a result of the ACCC's Federal Court action.

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