A Melbourne-based reseller has been instructed by the Australian Competitions and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to place advertisements in two daily newspapers informing readers that statements published by the reseller, PC Resq, were misleading.
Richard Smythe, PC Resq's managing director, said he is disappointed at the ACCC directive which requires PC Resq to place advertisements in The Australian and The Canberra Times.
PC Resq has been alerting people to the fact that most of the Y2K fixes being sold are basically software solutions to what is a hardware problem (see ARN July 14, page 8).
"I do believe that their attack on us was unreasonable and what they have asked us to do is unfair, but as a small company, we can't afford to fight them in court," Smythe said.
"What I am disappointed with is that we have backed up all our statements by providing the ACCC with over 60 pages of technical documents, yet they still insist we are misleading the public."
Smythe said he understands the Standards Australia Level Two (software) fix is fine in most cases but is specifically mentioned as being inadequate for mission-critical systems. The term "mission critical" has been described by Standards Australia as when the computer can't simply be rebooted on the turn of the millennium.
"The ACCC has told us exactly what we have to say in the ad and that includes declaring that some of the statements made in the newspapers are misleading to home computer users," Smythe said.
"We have never claimed to be targeting anything other than mission-critical enterprise systems which Australian standards say should include a fully compliant RTC. I still believe our advertisement said nothing other than that.
"The ACCC has dumped on us severely. We could have gone to court over the matter and not sign the undertaking [to place the ads] but our solicitors suggested it would be a big case and that even if we won we would have to pay our own costs.
"[Our lawyers'] estimate our costs ran close to $100,000 and I think we have been bullied."
Several attempts were made by ARN to obtain a comment from the ACCC without success. The ACCC justified their stance by stating that it is not an issue as the company involved had agreed to sign the directive.