Court dismisses ACCC injunctions against Harvey Norman franchisees

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

Of the 11 injunctions the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has applied for against Harvey Norman franchisees, all except for one have been dismissed.

Justice Richard Edmonds of the New South Wales Federal Court removed 10 of the franchisees from the proceedings because the injunctions were filed in NSW and the stores operate in other Australian states.

The injunction against Gordon Superstore, Pty Ltd in the Sydney suburb of Gordon is the only one that has not been dismissed.

"The balance are trading in other states of Australia and, without agreement, any proceeding of this kind, by a regulator such as the ACCC, should not be brought into a registry of this court other than in the registry of a state in which the respondent is trading," Justice Edmonds said. 

According to SmartCompany, the franchisees may be fined up to $1.1 million for allegedly misleading customers about their rights under Australian Consumer Law.

Justice Edmonds said he would have heard all 11 applications if the ACCC had initiated proceedings with one franchisee first and then applied for the remaining 10 injunctions.

This does not mean the remaining franchisees have been let off, and the ACCC has two other options.

It could apply to have the remaining 10 cases considered as parties to the proceeding involving the Gordon franchisee, or it could start 11 separate proceedings.

In November last year the ACCC applied for injunctions against the 11 franchisees after it found they were misleading customers on a number of issues.