digiDirect or digiDud – ACCC fines it for misleading advertising

digiDirect

The ACCC has fined digiDirect $39,240 for three infringement notices for allegedly misleading consumers about the details of advertised sales in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

In June, July and October 2020, digiDirect sales promotions had the headline statement “X% off storewide”. This was promoted via digiDirect’s website, on its social media, via email to digiDirect subscribers.

Simply put, the promotions clearly state the discount applies to all products available for sale. But the ACCC found exclusions on hundreds of products, between 5-7% of all products in stock. It conveniently excluded many popular digital cameras, camera lenses and accessories.

A business that advertises a ‘storewide’ sale but excludes a significant number of items is, in our view, clearly misleading consumers, which is unacceptable.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims

Infringement notices

The three infringement notices issued were about the following promotions:

  • June 2020 ‘End of Financial Year’ promotion – via the digiDirect website and with the headline statement “15% OFF STOREWIDE”;
  • July 2020 ‘Click Frenzy’ promotion – via the digiDirect Facebook page with the headline statement “15% OFF STOREWIDE”; and
  • October 2020 ‘Clearance’ promotion – via email to its subscribers with the headline statement “20% OFF* STOREWIDE”.
digiDirect

What is digiDirect?

digiDirect is an electronics goods retailer including photo and video equipment, lighting, printers, electronics and drones. It sells via its website (here), eBay and Amazon storefronts. It has six digiDirect branded stores across Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Users have two main complaints about digiDirect

First, the advertised stock levels are inaccurate, and more often than not, the goods are ordered from a supplier once you have paid. This means often unacceptable delays and usually no order progress updates, while it has the use of your money – you are an unsecured creditor.

This is a typical complaint

I ordered items on the website, after paying, I received an email advising out of stock. The website did not show an out-of-stock status for the goods, but of course, happy to take the payment. No response to my messages made through the website. It’s 2021, but they can’t even have their inventory connected to the website?!?! Maybe one day I’ll receive my goods, maybe one day I’ll get a response to my message, maybe the pig flying circles around the airport land soon, and before it runs out of fuel.

Second, that the after-sales service and complaint resolution is woeful.

Issues include part shipment, especially of accessory packs to items (e.g. lenses) needed to use the device, being told that the manufacturer is responsible for warranty (under ACL, the retailer is), and multiple approaches without responses. There are also complaints about grey market and parallel importing. Read ProductReview here, TrustPilot here and its online store here. It seems that if you go into a store and the product is on the shelf, then all is well unless something goes wrong.

You can read other GadgetGuy ACCC news here.