Court sentences online electronics store operator to three months imprisonment following ACCC contempt action

28 June 2017

The Federal Court has sentenced Dhruv Chopra, the former operator of online electronics stores Electronic Bazaar and Dream Kart, to three months imprisonment for failing to comply with court orders made against him in May 2015, following ACCC action for contempt of court.

The Court ordered Mr Chopra to serve one month of the sentence immediately with the remainder suspended on condition that for a period of five years he stop:

  • making false or misleading representations online about consumers’ refund and warranty rights
  • wrongly accepting payment for goods by failing to supply those goods within the specified time
  • being knowingly involved in such conduct by any other person.

On 11 May 2015 the Court found Mr Chopra, the sole operator of the online electronics store Electronic Bazaar, contravened the Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading representations about the availability of refunds and the extent of Electronic Bazaar’s liability for faulty goods.

At that time the Court ordered Mr Chopra pay $100,000 in penalties and imposed injunctions preventing him from making any similar false or misleading representations for a period of five years. 

The ACCC filed proceedings for contempt on 3 November 2016 alleging Mr Chopra, through his involvement in the online electronics store www.dreamkart.com.au, breached these orders through representations he made on the Dream Kart website.

On 19 April 2017 the Court found Mr Chopra guilty of the contempt charges brought by the ACCC.

“The ACCC regularly seeks court orders to prevent the same detrimental conduct from happening again and to protect consumers from future harm. The ACCC rigourously pursues compliance with these court orders by taking contempt action where we consider there has been a breach,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“The Court’s decision to imprison Mr Chopra reinforces the serious consequences for those who do not comply with court orders.”

In his judgment Justice O’Callaghan said, “I have no doubt that the contempts [Mr Chopra] committed… are criminal in nature. They involved an attitude of defiance, a deliberate and contumacious determination to defy the Court and a direct intention to disobey the Court’s order.”

Background

The original orders made against Mr Chopra in May 2015 prevent him from wrongly accepting payment from consumers, and from representing that consumers who purchase goods from him or any entity controlled by him:

  • are not entitled to a refund, repair, or replacement if the goods are no longer under express warranty
  • are not entitled to a refund when goods have been used or are not in their original packaging
  • are not entitled to a refund unless a claim is made within a specified time period
  • are not purchasing the goods from Mr Chopra or are purchasing the goods from a company.

For further details regarding the original judgment handed down in May 2015, see the following ACCC media release: Electronic Bazaar operator to pay penalties of $100,000 for misleading consumers.

Release number: 
MR 102/17
ACCC Infocentre: 

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