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Pharmacy fined by ACCC

PharmacyEpharmacy Group, the owner of the websites for Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist, and Epharmacy, has paid penalties totalling $32,400 for product pricing deemed misleading by the consumer watchdog.

The ACCC issued three infringement notices to Epharmacy for stating consumers would save money off the recommended retail price (RRP) for certain Healthy Care branded products purchased through the Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist, or Epharmacy websites.

The ACCC argued this was not the case because Healthy Care is a private label brand supplied exclusively to pharmacies trading under the Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist and Epharmacy banners.

For example, Healthy Care products were displayed online with statements such as ‘Don’t Pay RRP $39.99’ and ‘Save $18.00’.  In fact, the products had never been offered for sale at the RRP by those or any other retailers.

“Businesses using statements such as ‘savings’ or ‘discounts’ when comparing a sale price to the RRP of goods and services suggest to potential customers that they are getting a good deal because the sale price is less than the RRP. But if the product has never been previously sold at the RRP, or the RRP does not reflect a current market price, then this type of comparison misrepresents the savings that may be achieved,” ACCC commissioner, Sarah Court, said.

“The ACCC has taken this enforcement action to send a strong message to retailers that they must ensure they can substantiate any claimed savings off recommended retail prices,” Court said.

Epharmacy removed the alleged misrepresentations after becoming aware of the ACCC’s concerns.

The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.



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