Metricon Homes has been fined for misleading readers of its customer brochures.
The building brand’s Queensland operation has handed over $800,000 in fines after publishing four catalogues between 2009 and 2011 that constitute ‘misleading and deceptive advertising’, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Breaches included featuring products that the company does not supply.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “Photographs and glossy brochures that promote products should be of what the consumer will be supplied at the advertised price, not an upgraded package that would ultimately cost the consumer much more.”
The ACCC said it was particularly concerned with some photographs in Metricon’s brochures that included swimming pools and bali huts adjacent to the house, when Metricon does not supply these features or include them in packages.
Metricon did not make it clear that these features were not part of the package, the ACCC ruled.
Sims added: “If companies run promotions or advertise savings then those savings must be real, not a lure to attract customers to their products over competitors who might be doing the right thing. This is also another reminder to traders that fine print is not an antidote to misleading headline representations.”
As a result of the findings, Metricon will have to stick to advertising conditions set by the ACCC for the next three years.
Metricon statement read: “Metricon Homes Qld Pty Ltd has today given undertakings to the Federal Court of Australia that, for a period of three years, it will ensure that its advertising and promotional material conforms to certain requirements agreed with the ACCC.”
Company boss Mario Biasin said in a statement: “We take our responsibilities to consumers seriously. Comprehensive steps have been taken to address the concerns of the ACCC. Specifically, we have adopted a rigorous review of our advertising and promotions and reviewed our trade practices training program and policies.”
The company has pulped all of the offending brochures, and declined to send Mumbrella an example.