ELEVEN Harvey Norman franchisees face fines of up to $1.1 million for giving customers misleading information about their right to claim a refund or replace faulty products.
People who bought faulty mobile phones, laptops, refrigerators and espresso machines were told they had to pay for repairs or wait for manufacturers to provide a refund, according to documents lodged with the New South Wales Federal Court.
One store, in Bundall, Queensland, allegedly told a customer trying to replace a faulty laptop worth $1200 that Harvey Norman could not do anything until it was contacted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
However, the Competition and Consumer Act applies to the retailer.
The ACCC launched legal action against the owners of Harvey Norman stores in Launceston and Moonah, Tasmania, Albany and Mandurah in Western Australia, Hoppers Crossing and Sale in Victoria, Bundall, Ipswich and Oxley in Queensland, and Campbelltown and Gordon in NSW.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said consumers had the right to ask for repairs, replacement or a refund if goods were faulty, unsafe, or looked unacceptable.
"These rights cannot be excluded, restricted or modified," he said.