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Grays Auctions slapped with $10 million fine for deceptive listings

The ACCC has instituted legal proceedings in the Federal Court against Grays eCommerce Group Limited, an Aussie-wide online auction business, over misleading or false descriptions of at least 750 cars on its site.

Examples of misleading car descriptions included the wrong transmission system, the wrong manufacturing year, failure to mention obvious faults such as damage or active dashboard warning lights, or listing features that the car does not actually have.

Example of a misleading or deceptive listing:

The vehicle was listed as an automatic when it was in fact a manual © ACCC

Consumers who did attempt to get Grays to provide a remedy for their shonky vehicle were made to wait months for a resolution, with some paying to repair the vehicle themselves or reselling at a loss.

Grays has admitted to the misleading representations between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2022 and has agreed to make joint submissions with the ACCC to the Court that it should pay a $10 million penalty for these breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.

“The purchase of a car is often a significant financial decision. Consumers rely on their car to get them to work, school or other commitments and they should be able to rely on the description in the auction listing to be correct,” said ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver.

Another example of a misleading or deceptive listing:

The vehicle was listed as featuring central locking and a driver airbag when it did not actually have these things © ACCC

“Businesses must not mislead consumers about what they are buying. If they do mislead them, this is a breach of the Australian Consumer Law.”

According to a statement on the ACCC website, Grays has already contacted some affected consumers to offer redress and has co-operated with the ACCC during its investigations.

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