Court Finds Promotion Misled Consumers

Panasonic has been wrapped over the knuckles by the Federal court over a Wii promotion it ran in 2008.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took the company to Federal Court and in a decision handed down in Adelaide, Justice Mansfield found that Panasonic engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.

Panasonic's advertising represented that consumers who purchased a participating television would be eligible to receive a Bonus Nintendo Wii gaming console by redemption. In order to submit a valid redemption claim, consumers required the serial number of the participating television within 14 days of purchase in circumstances where:

  • The serial number was only obtainable on delivery of the television to the consumer.
  • There was no guarantee that a consumer would receive delivery of the participating television within 14 days of purchase or within sufficient time from the date of purchase to allow submitting of a redemption claim within 14 days of purchase.

The court considered that the advertising contained fleeting fine print which was difficult to absorb and failed to convey that matters outside the control of the purchaser could disqualify the purchaser from receiving the Bonus Wii.

As well as a declaration, the court ordered that Panasonic establish and maintain a trade practices compliance program for three years to ensure that Panasonic staff are aware of their obligations under the Trade Practices Act 1974. Panasonic was also ordered to pay the ACCC's costs.