Disbury Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as Gotta Getta Group, has paid penalties totalling $20,400 following the issue of two infringement notices by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to advertisements for Gotta Getta Group’s solar systems.
The infringement notices were issued in relation to two advertisements published during 2013. The first advertisement was published on television and radio in South Australia and on the internet, whilst the second advertisement was published on radio in South Australia.
The ACCC alleged that Gotta Getta Group had made representations to the effect that:
- consumers would recoup their investment on a solar system purchased from Gotta Getta Group up to three times faster than a solar system purchased from another supplier by reason of the 60 cent feed-in tariff offer; and
- under the 60 cent feed-in tariff offer, consumers would not make any financial contribution in order to receive the benefit of a credit of 60 cents per kWh for excess energy fed back into the grid.
In order to take up the 60 cent feed-in tariff offer, consumers had to enter into a three year energy plan with Simply Energy.
The Infringement Notices were issued by the ACCC to Gotta Getta Group because the ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe that the advertisements contained false or misleading representations in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) because:
- Gotta Getta Group did not take into account the fact that consumers who purchased a solar system from another supplier would receive the benefit of the 9.8 cent minimum retailer payment in addition to the 16 cent South Australian Government feed-in tariff; and
- Gotta Getta Group charged consumers an amount in relation to the 60 cent feed-in tariff offer, by including in the purchase price of its solar systems an amount in respect of a commission payable by Gotta Getta Group to Simply Energy.
“Suppliers must ensure that representations made about the benefits of purchasing a solar system are truthful and accurate, so that consumers can make informed purchasing decisions, and suppliers do not gain an unfair advantage over their competitors,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
“This is particularly important in relation to solar system offers, which frequently contain complex terms and conditions and can be difficult for consumers to compare with offers from competing suppliers.”
The ACCC may issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection provisions of the ACL. The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the ACL.
The infringement notices are listed at http://registers.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/939950