Appenture Marketing Ltd (in liquidation) was fined $114,000 in the Auckland District Court, for misleading consumers about their rights and for failing to provide consumers with key contract information, the Commerce Commission says.
It says the charges relate to conduct between June 2015 and April 2016. Appenture was charged in December 2016 and went into liquidation in April 2017. The Commission then sought consent from the High Court to continue the prosecution.
“In the Commission’s view there was genuine public interest in pursuing this prosecution despite the liquidation, as conviction may lead to the return of funds to consumers. It’s also important for deterrence,” Commissioner Anna Rawlings says.
Appenture was sentenced on 18 charges under the Fair Trading Act 1986, and six charges under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003.
The Commission says Appenture misled customers about their rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA).
“Appenture represented in its terms and conditions to its customers it wasn’t liable for delivery delays and customers would not be able to cancel because of delays. That’s misleading because the CGA guarantees that goods will be received within the agreed time, and the trader could not contract out of its obligations under the CGA,” says Ms Rawlings.
She says Appenture also misled customers by representing that if purchased goods were unavailable it could substitute other goods for them, and that it could charge default interest on the unpaid balance of a contract after the goods had been repossessed and sold.
The Commission reports that in sentencing Appenture on 4 February 2018, Judge Mary-Beth Sharp said it was most unlikely that the fines or any part of them would be met. However, "this case must have the effect of denouncing the conduct and penalising it in such a way that others in this industry will think twice about offending," she said.