Retailer Harvey Norman has accused the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission of engaging in "underhanded" tactics while making investigations into Harvey Norman's advertising strategies.
The ACCC, led by chairman Allan Fels, was investigating what it believed was misleading advertising of camera products in Harvey Norman's June 2000 catalogue.
The ACCC decided the best way to gain evidence on the matter was to contract a group of solicitors, Phillips Fox, whose clients included none other than, you guessed it folks, Harvey Norman. On discovering this deception, Gerry and friends decided they had copped enough of Fel's snooping around and attempted to turn the tables on the investigation.
"The ACCC puts up this front of being squeaky clean, then they engage solicitors that work for us," said Harvey Norman's John Skippen, who claimed the ACCC's allegations against the retailer are as fickle as those brought against general retailer Target.
"All the documents have been looked at, and now we want the matter discontinued," he said. "But the ACCC won't stand for it. They want to drum up some negative publicity against Harvey Norman by saying that action was taken, and the matter was dismissed. That's what this whole thing comes down to now, whether they say the matter was discontinued or dismissed."
The ACCC was unable to comment until their public relations staff prepared an official statement on the matter. Tabloid expects to hear something in the next 12 to 18 months.