The Federal Court has found US-based e-commerce marketing outfit, StoresOnline, made misleading and deceptive representations of its software products and services.
In a statement, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman, Graeme Samuel, said the action showed the ACCC's willingness to pursue proceedings against overseas corporations when they engaged in conduct, which affected Australian consumers.
"International corporations are on notice that if they mislead or deceive Australian consumers they will risk similar court action by the ACCC," he said.
Justice Richard Edmonds accepted the contention of the consumer watchdog that the fingerprints of StoresOnline International were 'all over this case'.
The e-commerce packages were promoted to Australian consumers through a series of workshops and seminars, primarily to those wishing to set up small businesses online.
During these workshops and seminars, the company had sold and was selling packages at full price, when these packages had not been offered at that price in Australia. It also offered packages to workshop attendees at a particular price point for 90 days from the date of the workshop, but it had no intentions to do so and the packages weren’t even available to purchase during that period of time.
The court also found that the level of ‘savings’ on the 90-day offer did not exist.
StoresOnline has been ordered to pay ACCC’s court costs. The matterhas been before the court since December 2007.
ACCC said the judgment represented a successful conclusion to the lengthy proceeding.