7 Feb 2018

Mobile shop fined $114k over misleading customers

4:37 pm on 7 February 2018

A mobile shop operating throughout the North Island has been fined $114,000 for misleading customers.

Eftpos machine

Photo: 123rf

Auckland-based company Appenture Marketing went door-to-door selling consumer goods - such as electronics - on credit at inflated prices.

The 24 charges, laid by the Commerce Commission, are for conduct between June 2015 and April 2016, before the company went into liquidation in April last year.

Commissioner Anna Rawlings said there was a genuine public interest in pursuing the prosecution, despite the liquidation.

"Conviction may lead to the return of funds to consumers. It's also important for deterrence," Ms Rawlings said.

In sentencing the company at the Auckland District Court, Judge Mary-Beth Sharp said it was most likely the fines would not be paid.

But she said the case "must have the effect of denouncing the conduct and penalising it in such a way that others in this industry will think twice before offending."

Appenture Marketing was convicted of misleading customers about their rights to cancel orders.

They also substituted advertised products that were unavailable with other goods, and charged interest on customers' unpaid balances for items they had already repossessed and sold.

Ms Rawlings said the company deprived customers of the legal protections New Zealand's consumer laws provide.

Judge Sharp described the mobile trader industry as "notorious".

A review into the industry by the Commerce Commission is ongoing, and so far mobile traders have been fined more than $1,230,000 by the courts.

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