10 December 2019

Plumbing business fined $130,000 for misleading ads

| Dominic Giannini
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ACT Courts

The ACT Supreme Court has ruled that Your Local Plumbing Group Pty Ltd deceived and misled customers. Photo: File.

A Canberra plumbing company and its director have been hit with $130,000 in fines after the ACT Supreme Court found them guilty of false advertising.

Your Local Plumbing Group Pty Ltd has been slapped with a $100,000 penalty for false and misleading content in regards to its advertising, while the company’s sole director and shareholder, Shameer Khan, has to pay a $30,000 fine for knowing about the contraventions.

It was also found that Khan had attempted to obscure the fact that the advertised services were being supplied by Your Local Plumbing Group, in contradiction to the ads.

Between 2016 and 2018 the company published ads under different business names claiming that the service was being provided by businesses that were not related to Your Local Plumbing Group, the court found.

The court also found that the business had wrongly claimed that it had been operating for 25 years, and in some cases 30 years, when it had only been in operation since 2015 at the earliest. The Court found that Khan knew that the business had been registered in 2015.

Misleading ads

Examples of misleading ads by Your Local Plumbing Group. Photo: Supplied.

ACT Fair Trading Commissioner David Snowden said it was practices like this that harmed consumers and plumbers who were doing the right thing.

“A ruling such as this demonstrates that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in the ACT. The court has sent a clear message with this significant penalty,” Mr Snowden said

“We took court action against Your Local Plumbing Group as we were concerned that these false representations could impact Canberra consumers and other businesses operating in the plumbing industry.

“It’s important that businesses conduct themselves in a way that is honest and in line with the Territory’s laws.”

The business was found to have been operating under at least nine different names, and lied about the standard, quality and value of their services, while also misleading the public about the nature and suitability of their services.

Ads were published under names like Sam’s Local Plumbing, Canberra Blocked Drain Services, Your Local Plumber ACT, Tuggeranong Plumbing, Priority One Plumbing and Electrical Services, North Canberra Plumbing, and Canberra Hot Water Systems and Repairs.

Mr Snowden said that under Territory law, all businesses had to make sure ads were accurate and not misleading to the general public.

Your Local Plumbing Group was made to publish corrective advertisements as well as establishing and maintaining a consumer law compliance program for the next three years.

The business and Khan himself are not allowed to make the same or similar representations in future ads for the next five years in relation to this business or other plumbing companies.

To find out more about the ACT’s fair trading and compliance work, or to submit a complaint, visit Access Canberra.

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