Commerce Commission takes Noel Leeming to court for allegedly misleading consumers

The Commerce Commission has filed charges against electronics firm Noel Leeming for allegedly misrepresenting consumers’ rights.

The corporate watchdog has filed nine charges under the Fair Trading Act against the retail group, alleging it misled consumers about their rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act.

The commission investigated complaints from Noel Leeming customers, who said they were misled about the right to seek remedies for faulty goods from Noel Leeming and not the manufacturer, the right to a refund for a faulty product and the right to a replacement for a faulty product.

Each charge relates to a different complainant and the alleged conduct occurred between September 2015 and January 2017 at eight Noel Leeming stores across New Zealand.

The complainants bought or considered buying consumer goods such as mobile phones, laptops and household appliances.

Noel Leeming, a subsidiary of The Warehouse Group, supplies consumer electronics from 77 stores nationwide and through online sales.

“We’re disappointed by the commission’s enforcement decision, which came without the opportunity to investigate or discuss the complaints,” a Noel Leeming spokeswoman says.

“We take our compliance responsibilities seriously and we want to do the right thing by our customers.”

The company is still assessing the charges and has not decided how it will plead.

Since 2007 the commission has issued warnings or compliance advice letters to Noel Leeming three times.

Noel Leeming and the commission would not make further comment as the case is before the court. It is due to be called in the Auckland District Court for the first time on May 29.

A commission spokesman confirmed it is not investigating other retailers in the appliance sector for similar conduct.

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