Retailer Harvey Norman has taken action against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission accusing the organisation 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 Harvey Norman. On discovering this deception, Harvey Norman has accused the ACCC of "underhanded" tactics: contracting Phillips Fox employees that were privy to sensitive information about Harvey Norman.
"The ACCC puts up this front of being squeaky clean, then they engage solicitors that work for us," said Harvey Norman's John Skippen, comparing the nature of the ACCC's allegations against the retailer to be 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 have released an official statement on the matter.