The Federal Court has ordered US e-commerce site StoresOnline to pay costs in its battle with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The Court found that StoresOnline International and StoresOnline misled Australian consumers on the promotion and sale of home business e-commerce software packages, breaching the Trade Practices Act 1974.
The packages were promoted through a series of seminars for people wishing to set up small businesses online.
Justice Edmonds declared since October 2006 StoresOnline, had engaged in "false" and "misleading conduct".
The particular conduct of StoresOnline found to contravene the Act included:
• at workshops and seminars StoresOnline represented that it offered for sale or sold packages at a "full" price when StoresOnline packages had not been offered for sale or sold at that price in Australia
• at workshops and seminars StoresOnline represented that it intended to offer StoresOnline packages for sale to workshop attendees at a particular offer price for 90-days from the date of the workshop when it had no such intention and StoresOnline packages were not available for purchase in the period following the workshop, and
• at workshops and seminars StoresOnline represented that the difference between the full price and the 90-day offer price for StoresOnline packages was the amount a consumer could save by attending a Stores Online workshop and purchasing the packages when that level of saving did not exist.
An ACCC spokesperson told CRN that the cost amount is yet to finalised.
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said, "International corporations are on notice that if they mislead or deceive Australian consumers they will risk similar court action by the ACCC".
The judgment concludes the second proceeding taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission against StoresOnline.
The ACCC spokesperson said that previous undertakings had forced StoresOnline to refund impacted customers.