The ACT Fair Trading Commissioner has launched Supreme Court action against a Canberra plumbing group, alleging it published misleading advertising.
Commissioner David Snowden is alleging that Your Local Plumbing Group Co Pty Ltd published advertisements under different business names, creating the impression the businesses were separate when in fact they were linked.
He alleges the company made false and misleading representations, and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct, in relation to the advertising.
The 11 businesses were Canberra Block Drain Services, Canberra Hot Water Solutions and Canberra Hot Water Systems and Repairs, Canberra Solar Hot Water Solutions, P1 Plumbing and Electrical Services, Priority One Plumbing and Electrical Services, North Canberra Plumbing, Roof Plumbing Canberra, Sam’s Local Plumbing, Tuggeranong Plumbing and Your Local Plumber ACT.
Your Local Plumbing Group was registered as a company in May 2015. Mr Snowden said the advertisements, published more than 100 times online and in the Yellow Pages between 2016 and 2018, might have misled consumers, in breach of Australian consumer law.
“Based on the number of advertisements published under different business names, it is alleged that consumers may have formed the impression that the plumbing services were offered by unrelated businesses when that is not the case,” Mr Snowden said.
“It is also alleged that Your Local Plumbing Group Pty Ltd misrepresented the number of years that it had been operating."
“This case highlights the need for all licensed individuals and companies to ensure that advertisements are accurate and not misleading.”
The commissioner is alleging that Your Local Plumbing Group Co's sole director, Shameer Khan, was "knowingly concerned in the alleged conduct".
The commissioner is seeking declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising, and costs through the proceedings.
Companies can be fined a maximum of $1.1 million for making false or misleading claims, under consumer laws.
A directions hearing in the ACT Supreme Court has been scheduled for 19 November.
Your Local Plumbing Group is made up of selected traders and service organisations and has "become well known over the years for providing premium services for residents in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne", according to its website.
It has been contacted for comment.