Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


“If it ain’t broke, fix it” policy costs shop

3 May 2006/128

“If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway” policy costs appliance shop $20,000

A home appliance business and its owner have been fined more than $20,000 after employees were instructed to tell lie about the age of second hand appliances and recommend unnecessary repairs.

Mr Brian Soper and his company Brian Soper Appliances Limited, trading as Noel’s Appliance World, admitted in the Christchurch District Court that technicians were told to make unnecessary repairs. Staff were instructed by Soper to tell customers that replacement parts were necessary when they were not, and to say that second-hand appliances for sale in the company’s showroom were newer than they were.

Staff were often instructed to scrape off markings identifying the model numbers of second-hand appliances for sale, and to remove labels containing the model details on some of those appliances.

In addition to those charges, Soper and his company pleaded guilty to specific charges of making a false or misleading representation to a customer that she needed a new washing machine pump when she did not.

Judge Erber recognised the personal responsibility of Mr Soper by ordering him to pay more than $13,000 of the $20,769 total fines and costs.

In sentencing, Judge Erber said of the company that ‘there was a policy of “if it ain’t broke, fix it anyway”’. He also referred to the ‘vulnerability of the householder who relies on the honest expression of expert opinion’ and noted the deliberate and clear commercial purpose of the offending.

Commerce Commission Director of Fair Trading, Deborah Battell, said that this is the first time the Commission has prosecuted a trader for misrepresentations about repairs or replacement of parts.

She described the prosecution outcome as a warning to all business owners that they face a significant penalty for instructing staff to mislead customers:

‘When dealing with technical issues, such as the repair of home appliances, the consumer must be able to trust in the honesty and integrity of the advice they are given by a tradesperson.’

‘By asking his staff to lie to customers, Mr Soper abused that trust and has been held accountable for those actions.’


Section 13(d) of the Fair Trading Act 1986 states that no person shall make a false or misleading representation that goods are manufactured at a particular time.

Section 13(h) of the Act states that no person shall make a false or misleading representation concerning the need for any goods or services.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Mycoplasma Bovis: More Properties Positive

One of the latest infected properties is in the Hastings district, the other three are within a farming enterprise in Winton. The suspect property is near Ashburton. More>>


Manawatū Gorge Alternative: More Work Needed To Choose Route

“We are currently working closely and in partnership with local councils and other stakeholders to make the right long-term decision. It’s vital we have strong support on the new route as it will represent a very significant long-term investment and it will need to serve the region and the country for decades to come.” More>>


RBNZ: Super Fund Chief To Be New Reserve Bank Governor

Adrian Orr has been appointed as Reserve Bank Governor effective from 27 March 2018, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. More>>


ScoopPro: Helping PR Professionals Get More Out Of Scoop has been a fixture of New Zealand’s news and Public Relations infrastructure for over 18 years. However, without the financial assistance of those using Scoop in a professional context in key sectors such as Public Relations and media, Scoop will not be able to continue this service... More>>

Insurance: 2017 Worst Year On Record For Weather-Related Losses

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) announced today that 2017 has been the most expensive year on record for weather-related losses, with a total insured-losses value of more than $242 million. More>>