An online pet store has been fined more than $26,000 for misleading thousands of customers into believing they had been given a discount, when they were, in fact, being charged more at the checkout.
Millell Pty Ltd, which trades as Pet Circle, was being investigated for discount vouchers and codes posted to its website, sent out via email, SMS, flyers and third parties in 2019.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the business admitted it misled about 5400 customers into believing they had been given a discount, when those customers were charged “an additional amount to the value of the discount code or voucher”.
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The ACCC spokesperson said customers were generally paying between $10 to $20 more than they should.
Pet Circle includes many top pet brands for food and accessories. Credit: Pet Circle
The online store was also fined for misleading customers with a “don’t pay $X, and save Y%” statement used on its website between 2019 and 2013.
The ACCC said the statement was misleading because the price quoted was depicted as the price charged by either Pet Circle or one of its competitors.
However, it said Pet Circle conceded this was not the case and often the higher price was the manufacturer’s recommended retail price.
Pet Circle was fined a total of $26,640 for false or misleading practices.
The ACCC said the business would refund any affected customers and refrain from using “don’t pay” statements unless the price quoted was a genuine reflection of a price recently offered by Pet Circle.
It also said it would refrain from charging customers an additional amount for a transaction after they had checked out their products, and implement a compliance program to minimise the risk of any future breaches of consumer law.
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