The ACCC took Dhruv Chopra, the sole operator of the online electronics store Electronic Bazaar, to court alleging that he had false or misleading representations to consumers about warranty coverage and refunds, and had also accepted payment for goods and then failed to supply them within a reasonable time.
The court found that Chopra had told customers that they were not entitled to a refund, repair or replacement for goods in circumstances where the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) says they are, and that he had told consumers that they had refund rights against non-existent companies.
Following the court's decision against him, Chopra must pay penalties totalling $100,000 according to the ACCC, plus the commission's legal costs.
He was also restrained from engaging in similar conduct for a period of 5 years, and undertake training on his ACL obligations.
"The Court's decision to impose a significant penalty on Mr Chopra, a sole trader, for misrepresenting consumers' refund and warranty rights makes it clear that this conduct is a serious breach of the Australian Consumer Law.
"A consumer's right to a refund, repair, or replacement in certain circumstances under the ACL consumer guarantees cannot be excluded or modified by terms or conditions published on a website."
He added "The penalty imposed in respect of failure to supply goods within a specified or reasonable timeframe also highlights the need for online traders to ensure that when accepting payments for goods, they must to be able to supply those goods within the stated timeframe, or otherwise within a reasonable period."
Electronic Bazaar's web site has been replaced with a static page saying it is no longer operational.