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Spreets fined $600,000 for misleading customers

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Popular discount coupon website Spreets has been fined $600,000 after the Federal Court found the company guilty of making false or misleading representations to consumers.

The Court found that Spreets had contravened Australian Consumer Law (ACL) between June 2011 and April 2012 by misleading customers of the prices of certain deals, the details of how a consumer could redeem a voucher, and what particular refund rights were available.

Proceedings were brought forward by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which took action to improve its compliance program following the investigation.

“Online consumer issues remain an enforcement priority for the ACCC. The Court’s decision is a further reminder for online traders that the Australian Consumer Law applies to them, including consumer guarantees” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“All online businesses, including those offering daily deals, must ensure that representations made on their websites are clear and accurate, particularly in relation to price and any restrictions on a deal being offered, including availability and redemption conditions.”

Spreets is no longer in the business of offering deals directly to consumers, instead publishing deals gathered from third party online group buying websites.

Other major ‘daily deals’ or ‘deal of the day’ websites have been placed in the spotlight for similar reasons. December 2013 saw Scoopon ordered to pay $1million for misleading business and consumers and December 2014 saw LivingSocial undertake a court enforceable undertaking addressing ACCC concerns relating to deceptive conduct.