Clothing retailer cops fine for ACL breach

Sportscraft, women's fashion, fashionClothing retailer APG & Co Pty Ltd, which trades as Sportscraft has been fined $21,600 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission following an investigation into the recognition of consumer guarantee rights in the clothing retail industry.

The ACCC said it had reasonable grounds to believe that Sportcraft had made false or misleading representations about consumer guarantees to its customers, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

“Consumer guarantee rights apply for all purchases a consumer makes, and these rights cannot be removed or reduced by a business’s terms and conditions,” said ACCC commissioner Sarah Court.  “Clothing retailers cannot exclude or refuse a consumer’s right to a remedy simply because the faulty goods are bought at a discount clearance store.

“This is a timely reminder for all retail stores, particularly for clothing retailers, to review their refund or returns policies to ensure that they do not contravene the ACL.”

The ACCC said that from January 2016, Sportscraft stated on tax invoice receipts that consumers would not be entitled to return or exchange faulty goods purchased from a clearance store. From March 2016, Sportscraft also stated on its website that it would not refund, exchange or credit note the item more than 21 days after purchase.

“Consumer guarantees remain a priority area for the ACCC.  It is concerning that we’ve seen a number of similar complaints in the fashion industry of late,” said Court.

“The ACCC is continuing investigations regarding at least one other clothing retailer, and expects further action in this area.”

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