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ACCC takes case against Harvey Norman

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SYDNEY, Nov 20 AAP

November 20 2012, 6:09PM

The consumer watchdog has launched Federal Court action against several Harvey Norman franchisees, alleging they misled consumers on their rights.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on Tuesday announced it had started proceedings against 11 franchisees from across the country.

It alleges the franchisees "engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct" by making false or misleading statements to consumers between April 2011 and mid-2012 about their rights in relation to refunds and replacements.

The allegations include that customers were told the franchisee was under no obligation to provide remedies for damaged goods, or goods still covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

The ACCC alleges some franchisees also told customers they were not obliged to refund or replace particular items, including large or expensive goods.

Some consumers were also allegedly told they would have to pay a fee for the repair and return of faulty products.

The ACCC is seeking orders against the franchisees, including penalties, injunctions and costs.

"The Australian Consumer Law provides consumers with rights to certain remedies from retailers and manufacturers when goods fail to comply with the consumer guarantee provisions," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

Those provisions include that goods be of acceptable quality and fit for the purpose for which they were sold.

"These rights cannot be excluded, restricted or modified," Mr Sims said.

The matter has been set down for a directions hearing on December 19.