ACCC clears Jeep but NSW Gaming officials confirm initial probe into competition

Jeep Australia competition screen shotThe New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) has confirmed it is probing the Jeep competition which sparked a barrage of criticism from unhappy members of the public.

OLGR told Mumbrella it has received a formal complaint and is “conducting an initial assessment” into how the competition was run. A full investigation will be launched if rules are found to have been breached.

Consumer Affairs in Victoria also said it was aware of “consumer concerns” surrounding the competition but has yet to receive a complaint.

But Jeep is in the clear from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which found it had made no “substantial” breaches of Australian Consumer Law.

Jeep’s ‘World’ Most Remote Dealership’ competition ran earlier this month and offered people the chance to buy one of ten vehicles being sold at $10,000 each. To enter people had to register via an app and then phone a number at a specified time. Almost 50,000 people signed up with 30,000 hopefuls telephoning.

However, some phone numbers for the competition were posted online on the Whirlpool forum, while some registrants complained no number appeared on the app itself, but rather a “call now” button which did not work on tablets. Jeep said the app was only designed for mobile phones. Others have claimed some winners were able to call before 9am, when the lines were due to open.

A spokesperson for OLGR in NSW said: “The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing confirms it has received a complaint in regards to the competition and is conducting an initial assessment.

“Should this initial assessment identify suspected contraventions or non compliance with the Lotteries and Art Unions Act then an investigation will be conducted.”

The ACCC said enquiries had been made into the competition after it became aware of “consumer concerns”.

“But it did not find evidence that Jeep substantially breached provisions of the Australian Consumer Law,” a spokeswoman said.

Victoria consumer affairs said it is “aware of consumer concerns relating to the Jeep “Remote Dealership” promotion, however has not received complaints regarding this matter”.

“Australian Consumer Law prohibits businesses from making false, misleading or deceptive representations and concerns may arise where consumers are misled into error from representations used as part of the promotion of products and services,” the department said.

Queensland Office of Fair Trading declined to say whether it had received complaints as “a complaint alone does not constitute a breach of fair trading legislation.”

“It may be unfair to the business to disclose whether we have received complaints, or how many. Doing so may jeopardise any investigation that we may be conducting into the business,” the OFT said.

But it advised consumers to contact officials if they believe businesses make “false or misleading claims about competitions and prizes”.

“Under the Australian Consumer Law, if a business promotes a competition where there are free giveaways, prizes or discounted products, they must not mislead the audience about the items on offer or the chances of receiving these items,” it said.

Steve Jones


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