The operator of online electronics store, Electronic Bazaar, is in trouble again with the Australian competition watchdog, after allegedly making false or misleading representations to customers about refunds and liability for faulty goods.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Dhruv Chopra, the operator of Electronic Bazaar, alleging contempt of court and that he breached orders made by Justice Middleton on May 11 last year.
At that time, Chopra was ordered by the Federal Court of Australia to pay penalties totaling $100,000 for contravening Australian consumer law, after the ACCC took legal action against the online retail site operator in late 2014.
The online electronics retail site, Electronic Bazaar, sold camcorders, digital cameras, mobile phones, laptops, projectors, and other electronic goods.
The ACCC alleged at the time that, via the electronics retail site, Chopra made representations that consumers who purchased goods through the Electronic Bazaar website were not entitled to a refund for goods which were no longer under an express warranty.
The court eventually declared that Chopra had made false or misleading representations to customers about the availability of refunds and the extent of Electronics Bazaar’s liability for faulty goods.
Chopra was also found to have made false or misleading representations that consumers’ refund rights were against a company called “Unreal Technologies Private Limited” or “Unreal Technology Private Limited”, when neither of those companies existed.
“The Court's decision to impose a significant penalty on Chopra, a sole trader, for misrepresenting consumers' refund and warranty rights makes it clear that this conduct is a serious breach of the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, said at the time.
“A consumer’s right to a refund, repair, or replacement in certain circumstances under the ACL consumer guarantees cannot be excluded or modified by terms or conditions published on a website,” he said.
Now, the ACCC has alleged that Chopra, thanks to his involvement with another online electronics store, Dream Kart, and representations made on that website, has breached the orders made by the Federal Court in 2015.
The competition watchdog is seeking declarations that the operator is guilty of contempt which, if found guilty, could see Chopra face imprisonment or a fine.
“The ACCC sought and obtained orders from the Court to prevent Mr Chopra from making false or misleading representations to consumers about their consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law," Sims said in a statement.
“The ACCC will not hesitate to pursue contempt of court action when it considers that court orders, obtained for the protection of consumers, have been breached,” he said.