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Short Exposures: December 13

Harvey franchisees finally fined…Really useful videos…Polaroid’s Nikon clone a dead parrot…Random stats on camera sales…

Harvey franchisees finally fined
Four Harvey Norman franchisees have (finally) been hit with $116,000 in fines by the Federal Court for misleading customers regarding their consumer guarantee rights.

The stores were Launceston and Moonah in Tasmania, and Hoppers Crossing and Sale in Victoria.

The court found sales staff had made false representations, including telling customers they had no obligation to provide remedies for damaged goods unless notified within a short period of time, and had no obligation to provide an exchange or refund for faulty goods.

The Launceston store in addition stated on its customer receipts that ‘no claims will be honoured on damaged goods unless notified within 24 hours of delivery or pick-up’. Now sales assistants being ignorant of the ‘new improved’ Australian Consumer Law is perhaps understandable, but It almost beggars belief that Harvey Norman would have such little concern for its brand, and the franchisee such little understanding of the ACL to print receipts which are so flagrantly counter to the law of the land.

Proceedings are also underway against another six Harvey Norman stores for similar conduct. This is the third wave of adverse publicity for Harvey Norman related to the one set of transgressions. Legal proceedings were commenced over 12 months ago and first thrown out of court on a technicality. The ACCC had another go in June this year and this final news of fines represents the third hit to the retailer’s reputation. The $28,000  in fines for each of the transgressors ($32,000 for Launceston, which has since ceased trading) pales in comparison to the three episodes of bad publicity.

Really useful videos

What the hell is a 'meme'? Is it anything like a 'trope'?
What the hell is a ‘meme’? Is it anything like a ‘trope’?

– Still on the the Australian Consumer Law, the ACCC has just released a short and mildly amusing video, Shop Smart Online, which states among other things that all businesses that supply to Australian consumers must comply with the Australian Consumer Laws, before noting that it might be harder for consumers to enforce their rights if the seller is overseas! Perhaps ‘impossible’ might be a better description of the true state of affairs, but at least unlike Choice, the ACCC actually acknowledges the potential pitfallsfor Australian consumers when dealing with offshore online retailers.

The ACCC actually has a library of quite useful instructional videos on the ACL, consumer guarantees and the like. One of these is essential viewing for anyone in retailing – Selling Goods – What I Need To Know. It’s under 6 minutes and could save retailers a lot of grief (see story above) especially with part-time staff coming into retail stores during the summer season.

Polaroid’s Nikon clone a dead parrot
The Polaroid iM1836 – Polaroid’s first mirrorless interchangeable camera, is no more. It was first shown at last year’s CES show and at that time people were noting its remarkable similarity to the Nikon J1.

Nikon put out a press release last week announcing an injunction against manufacturer Sakar ‘to stop the sales and advertising of the Polaroid iM1836 digital camera.’

As part of the injunction, Sakar will no longer manufacture, import, advertise, promote, offer for sale, sell, or ship the Polaroid iM1836 digital camera in its present configuration.
This has no impact in the local market, as Polaroid Australia, under the wise guidance of managing director John Rule, has not released the camera.

Random stats on global camera sales…

Random pic of camera.
Random pic of camera.

According to Futuresource market research, worldwide demand for digital cameras is forecast to reach 86 million units in 2013, representing a decline of 24 percent compared with 2012.

Interchangeable lens cameras will account for one in every four digital cameras shipped this year, according to Futuresource, and for the very first time the segment will account for more than half the total digital camera trade value.

Following triple-digit volume growth (really?) in 2012, demand for mirrorless interchangeables softened in the first half of 2013 and will grow by just 6 percent year-on-year, according to Futuresource. Demand for DSLR cameras has been driven by entry-level models becoming more affordable. While mirrorless interchangeables will represent almost half the interchangeable camera market volume in Japan (perhaps why Canon is only releasing the new EOS M2 in Asia), DSLR remains by far the most popular format globally, with 80 percent volume share expected for 2013.

Australia sits somewhere in the middle of these extremes. ( That’s according to Photo Counter.)

We all know that common-or-garden-variety digital compacts have tanked, but Futuresource says the popularity of higher value segments such as bridge, premium (large sensor), zoom compact and water/shockproof cameras is increasing. These segments accounted for nearly 50 percent of total European fixed lens shipments in 2012 and are expected to increase their share to nearly 58 percent in 2013. Gee whizz.

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