Federal Court orders StoresOnline to amend workshop presentations

30 October 2007

The Federal Court has granted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission a number of interlocutory court orders against StoresOnline International Inc and StoresOnline Inc designed to ensure that Australian consumers are fully informed of their rights.

On Friday Justice Tamberlin ordered StoresOnline to amend their workshop presentations and further workshops in the following ways until final hearing of the matter:

  • StoresOnline must inform participants at StoresOnline workshops that they are entitled to a three business day cooling off period by oral statements and by written display on a screen at the beginning and end of all workshop presentations
  • StoresOnline must inform participants that success in the use of the StoresOnline product will depend on whether the participant:
    • has a computer
    • has a general knowledge of using a computer
    • knows little or nothing about e-commerce
    • does not presently have a product to sell
    • has a business plan for starting or operating a business
    • has sufficient money to start and operate a business apart from the cost of the product.

These disclaimers must be made by oral statements and by a written display on a screen at the commencement of and following the lunch break at all workshop presentations.

The failure by StoresOnline to comply with these orders at any workshop presentation in Australia will expose StoresOnline to contempt proceedings.

Justice Tamberlin also ordered that:

  • StoresOnline must allow purchasers to exercise their three business day cooling off period rights by either facsimile or e-mail
  • StoresOnline must not use testimonials from purchasers of the StoresOnline product unless that person has given a signed statement that the testimonial is accurate and any testimonials used in presentations must be produced within 14 days if requested by the ACCC
  • StoresOnline must not sell the StoresOnline product unless the purchaser can generate a valid tax invoice under Australian law.

The ACCC also obtained orders from the court requiring StoresOnline to:

  • provide seven days notice of any workshop presentation to be conducted and 21 days notice of any other presentations to be conducted in Australia to the ACCC
  • record and archive all presentations conducted in Australia, and that such recordings are to be produced within 14 days if requested by the ACCC, and
  • pay costs in favour of the ACCC

The ACCC will continue to closely monitor the conduct of future StoresOnline presentations in Australia to ensure compliance with the orders. The ACCC will now prepare this matter for final hearing.

Links

Release number: 
MR 294/07
ACCC Infocentre: 

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