Thursday, 01 August 2019 11:58

Big Warehouse pays ACCC penalty, compensates customers


Online spare parts retailer Big Warehouse has paid a $12,600 penalty after the ACCC issued an infringement notice against the company for allegedly breaching Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by misleading a consumer about their consumer guarantee rights in relation to spare parts they had ordered.

Big Warehouse has also provided a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC admitting it was likely to have contravened the ACL by representing to consumers that:

• spare parts were available for dispatch, when in fact they needed to be ordered from the manufacturer

• spare parts were compatible with the model of electrical appliance purchased by the consumer, when this was not the case

• the consumer was not entitled to a full refund or replacement where:

      o a spare part ordered was not supplied within a reasonable time after payment was made
      o a spare part was not compatible with the electrical appliance set out in the consumer’s order; or
      o a spare part was damaged during delivery and the consumer had not purchased insurance from Big Warehouse.

“Big Warehouse has admitted that when consumers requested a full refund or replacement, they were either denied one, only given a partial refund, or offered a store credit instead,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“According to some complaints, consumers were incorrectly charged for a replacement part in circumstances where they shouldn’t have been. Such charges included a 30 per cent restocking fee to purchase the correct part.

“If a consumer buys a spare part and is provided the incorrect part or it is damaged on arrival, they are entitled under the Australian Consumer Law to choose a full refund or replacement.”

Under the terms of the enforceable undertaking given to the ACCC, Big Warehouse will provide compensation to certain customers who ordered spare parts and subsequently requested a full refund or replacement.



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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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