Computer and electronics retailer IT Warehouse has signed court-enforceable undertakings with the ACCC, which involve it improving its catalogue advertising and trade practices compliance.
The court-enforceable undertakings stem from several editions of promotional catalogues that advertised a number of Nikon digital cameras as being available for sale from its stores, according to a statement from the ACCC.
"However, many IT Warehouse stores had stock levels which were inadequate, or non-existent, and in any event were disproportionate to the discounted price and the level of the promotion," according to a statement from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The IT Warehouse has acknowledged that it may have contravened the Trade Practices Act, the ACCC stated.
The court-enforceable undertakings include the retailer informing all franchisees, so that they are aware of the issues; and to put in place a trade practices law compliance program.
The ACCC also used the opportunity to issue a warning to retailers.
"This case should alert retailers who customarily do not have stock in hand or readily available, or where that is hardly ever the case, that they must tell consumers about the situation, especially when they promote the items in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage," said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.
"The IT Warehouse catalogues inferred that the store could readily supply items at the advertised prices, when they had not yet got supply from wholesalers," Samuel said. "In addition to potential consumer inconvenience, this advertising practice placed other retailers at an unfair competitive disadvantage with IT Warehouse".
IT Warehouse is a partially franchised electronics retailer. It has 16 retail stores mainly in South Australia and Victoria, according to the ACCC.