Reseller dismissal case gets to court

A former Panasonic reseller will finally have its day in court to settle an ongoing dispute over its dismissal as an authorised reseller.

The case has been allotted eight days from March 13 in the Federal Court. Managing director of Melbourne-based Advance E Pty Ltd, Ravi Weeramantry, was pleased it would finally be heard, but said a last-minute application by the vendor could put the date in jeopardy.

Advance E's dispute with Panasonic involves claims of wrongful dismissal as an authorized Panasonic reseller, breach of contract and misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the performance of photocopiers from the vendor's Office Automation range. Initially filed in November 2002, the Advance E claims have already gone through two arbitrations in the Federal Court of Australia, Victorian Direct Registry.

ARN last spoke to Weeramantry in May 2004 as he awaited his date with destiny.

Advance E's allegations will again include a report from chartered accountant, Tom Fitzgerald of Commercial Resolutions, which quantifies the loss and damages it suffered due to the termination of its contract with Panasonic in August 2002.

These were despite assurances laid out in its dealer terms.

The reseller also claims Panasonic failed to reimburse it for agreed authorised dealer discounts and special trading term allowances amounting to more than $33,000.

It will also allege the Panasonic photocopiers it sold were either defective or did not perform according to specifications, creating losses stemming from unplanned service costs. Panasonic was contacted and elected not to comment ahead of the case being heard.