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Audi faces ACCC
Audi Oz aims to avoid court with consumer watchdog over "misleading" Q7 ads
21 Nov 2007
AUDI Australia is attempting to avoid courtroom action with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after the consumer watchdog filed proceedings against it in the Federal Court last week for alleged breaches of the Trade Practices Act.
The ACCC has alleged that Audi Australia engaged in “false, misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to advertisements for its Q7 SUV and Q7 3.6 SE motor vehicles” that appeared in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers between June 23 and August 18 this year.
It said the advertisements represented the “Q7 SUV” and the “Q7 3.6 SE” as having seven seats as a standard feature when in fact the standard seating for these models is five seats.
The ACCC also alleged the advertisements claimed the Q7 3.6 SE was available for $79,900, when in fact this price was the recommended retail price and did not refer to the existence of dealer delivery and statutory charges.
The ACCC claimed the Q7 3.6 SE was advertised as a seven-seat motor vehicle at the price of $79,900, when in fact the purchase price of that vehicle with seven seats was $81,600, plus dealer delivery and statutory charges.
It has further alleged that Audi made false, misleading or deceptive representations in statements and pictures on its website and in brochures available through its website and authorised Audi dealers that the Q7 SUV is a seven-seat vehicle.
The ACCC said it was seeking “injunctions, declarations, a publication order, an order that Audi institute a trade practices compliance program and costs”.
It said the matter had been listed for a scheduling conference in the Federal Court in Melbourne on December 14.
Audi Australia spokeswoman Anna Burgdorf told GoAuto this week that the company hoped to resolve the issue with the ACCC before that date.
“We will undertake measures to not go to court, in the appropriate manner,” Ms Burgdorf said. “We have had quite an open dialogue with the ACCC, which is why the announcement (of court action) came as a surprise to us.”Ms Burgdorf said “process errors” had caused the errors in the Q7 advertisements.
“It was a genuine error, it was never our intent to mislead our customers,” she said. “It was corrected as soon as we were made aware of the mistake.”Audi Australia switched the majority of its advertising work from M&C Saatchi to Rapp Collins in June this year. Audi Australia has confirmed to GoAuto that M&C Saatchi were not involved in producing the advertisements that are at the centre of the ACCC action.
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