Company or individual details
- Big Warehouse Pty Ltd31119434847119434847
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Big Warehouse Pty Ltd (Big Warehouse) in relation to claims about the availability of spare parts for electrical appliances manufactured by third parties (Spare Parts), the suitability of Spare Parts and consumers’ rights to a full refund or replacement. Big Warehouse has admitted that it was likely to have contravened sections 18, 29(1)(a), 29(1)(m) and 36(4) of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Big Warehouse carries on a business in Australia as a supplier of spare parts for electrical appliances manufactured by third parties to consumers.
Big Warehouse sells Spare Parts via its online store at ‘https://m.bigwarehouse.com.au’ and ‘https://spares.bigwarehouse.com.au’.
The relevant conduct
Big Warehouse made statements on its websites and dealings with consumers which represented that certain Spare Parts were ‘available’ when, in fact, the Spare Parts needed to be ordered from the manufacturer and were not supplied within a reasonable time after Big Warehouse received payment for them. It also wrongly accepted payment for Spare Parts when it could not supply those parts within a reasonable time.
Big Warehouse also made statements and included photos on pages of its websites that represented that a Spare Part suited a particular appliance model, when in fact some consumers received a Spare Part that was not compatible or significantly differed from what was advertised.
Big Warehouse also represented to consumers that they were not entitled to a full refund or replacement of the Spare Part when that was not the case. In particular, requests for refunds were denied or not provided in full, and in some circumstances consumers were told “We have a very strict no returns policy” and were offered a remedy subject to one or more of the following:
- charging a restocking or cancellation fee;
- providing a refund in the form of store credit;
- providing a refund of only the purchase price excluding shipping costs;
- providing a replacement part at a discounted price.
To address the ACCC’s concerns, Big Warehouse has agreed to pay an Infringement notice under section 134A of the Act in the amount of $12,600 and provide the ACCC with a section 87B undertaking that it will:
- Cease the conduct of concern for a period of three years from the commencement of the undertaking;
- Make changes to its websites to clearly disclose that Spare Parts listed as ‘available’ need to be ordered from the manufacturer;
- Provide compensation to eligible consumers, which will comprise a full refund of the price originally invoiced including costs of shipping, or where consumers were charged for a replacement, the amount of any additional fee imposed by Big Warehouse; and
- Report on their compliance with the Undertaking to the ACCC and reasonably provide information to the ACCC if a request is made.