Digital Imaging Express Pty Ltd, trading as DigiDirect, has paid $39,240 in penalties after the ACCC issued the company three infringement notices for allegedly misleading consumers about the details of advertised sales in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
DigiDirect operates the website www.digidirect.com.au and an eBay and Amazon storefront. There are also six physical DigiDirect branded stores across Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
In June, July and October 2020, DigiDirect conducted sales promotions that used the headline statement ‘X% off storewide’. The promotions were advertised on DigiDirect’s website, posted on social media and sent via email to subscribers.
While the promotions stated the discount would apply to all products available for sale, hundreds of products, between five and seven per cent of all products, were excluded from the promotions. This included a number of popular digital cameras, camera lenses and accessories.
The ACCC alleges that DigiDirect contravened the ACL by falsely representing to consumers that all products were available at a discounted price, when this was not the case.
‘A business that advertises a “storewide” sale but excludes a significant number of items is, in our view, clearly misleading consumers, which is unacceptable,’ ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
‘In this instance, the offer of storewide discounts will have attracted many consumers to the DigiDirect sale. While those consumers may not have been misled about whether or not the discount ultimately applied to the product they wanted to purchase, it is still unacceptable for a business to entice customers to a sale on the promise of discounts that may not apply.’
The three infringement notices issued were in relation to a June 2020 ‘End of Financial Year’ promotion which included the headline statement ‘15% OFF STOREWIDE’; the July 2020 ‘Click Frenzy’ promotion – this was posted on the DigiDirect Facebook page and included the headline statement ‘15% OFF STOREWIDE’; and an October 2020 ‘Clearance’ promotion which included the headline statement ‘20% OFF* STOREWIDE’.
Each of these promotions contained the words ‘terms and conditions apply’ or ‘terms and exclusions apply’ in a small font. The ACCC considered that the ‘storewide discount’ representation was not capable of being qualified so that it was no longer misleading, even if the disclaimers had been more prominent.
DigiDirect stopped advertising these ‘storewide’ discounts promptly after the ACCC intervened.