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

 


Court upholds souvenir sentences

Court upholds souvenir sentences

The High Court has rejected an appeal by four companies and four individuals who were convicted and fined a total of $601,900 for selling visiting Asian tourists imported alpaca goods as “Made in New Zealand”, and making claims that duvets were 100% alpaca or merino wool when they were not.

In September 2013 the four companies and four directors pleaded guilty in the District Court at Rotorua and were convicted and fined a total of $601,900 for breaches of the Fair Trading Act. Organised tour groups from China, Korea and Taiwan were taken to several premises where they were sold items such as alpaca rugs, alpaca and merino duvets. The tourists were misled about the origin of alpaca rugs, labelled as being made in New Zealand when in fact they were imported from Peru. False claims by two of the companies were also made about the duvets, claims they were 100% alpaca or merino wool when they were not. The High Court decision endorses the District Court Judge’s finding that there was a significant loss suffered by affected consumers because they had no opportunity to shop elsewhere and if the products were labelled correctly they would have paid a fraction of the prices they did.

In the High Court judgment, which confirmed the sentences, Justice Duffy dismissed claims that the defendants did not realise the mislabelling was false or misleading because they were naïve and because English was not their first language, saying “This argument is not tenable, given the circumstances of the offending.”

Justice Duffy said “The magnitude of this fraud required a stern sentence.” The Judge emphasised that the products were “….knowingly sold to customers who, because they were mainly overseas visitors and English was their second language had little, if any, means of discovering this fraud.“

Commerce Commission Chairman, Dr Mark Berry, said “The Commission is pleased that the sentences have been confirmed on appeal. It is important that New Zealanders and visitors to New Zealand can trust that what they are being told is true. Labelling and representing products in this manner not only misleads buyers but also has the potential to discredit the New Zealand tourism industry.”

In April 2013 two other companies (Top Sky and Kiwi Wool) and two individuals were convicted and fined a total of $259,000 for similar breaches. Two additional companies are due to be sentenced in the Auckland District Court later this year for similar conduct.

Background

The four companies and four individuals that had the appeals against their sentences under the Fair Trading Act dismissed are:


Name Fine


Hyeon Company Limited $105,000
Duvet 2000 Limited $200,000
Mr Han Young Chae (director of Hyeon and Duvet 2000) $ 24,500
JM Wool Limited $182,000
Mr Jong Myung Lee (director of JM Wool Limited) $ 21,000
Premium Alpaca New Zealand Limited $ 56,000
Mr Yun Duk Jung (director of Premium Alpaca New Zealand Limited) $ 6,700
Mr Bo Sun Yoo (director of Premium Alpaca New Zealand Limited) $ 6,700

The original charges brought by the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act followed search warrants executed on ten premises in Rotorua and one in Auckland in August 2011. The search warrants were a multi-agency initiative which involved the Commerce Commission, Police, Customs, Immigration and the Wildlife Enforcement Group. Tourism New Zealand assisted the investigation.

Previous media releases on the cases mentioned
April 2013
http://www.comcom.govt.nz/the-commission/media-centre/media-releases/detail/2013/penalties-for-souvenir-companies-that-misled-tourists-with-untrue-claims

September 2013
http://www.comcom.govt.nz/the-commission/media-centre/media-releases/detail/2013/four-more-souvenir-companies-fined-for-misleading-tourists


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media: Fairfax Moves To Create Modern Newsroom

Fairfax Media New Zealand continues its newsroom transformation this week, with a proposal to further organise its editorial operations into focused, local teams and specialist national topic areas. More>>

ALSO:

Dairy: Fonterra Forecast For 2015/16 Season

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season to $4.40 per kgMS. Along with its previously announced forecast dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, the change amounts to a forecast ... More>>

ALSO:

BusinessDesk: SkyCity Lifts Minimum Convention Centre Investment To $430M

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino operator, has lifted the minimum it will invest in the Auckland International Convention Centre to $430 million and said total costs including land may be $450 million to $470 million. More>>

Statistics: Drop In Dairy Prices Leads Fall In Exports

Total goods exports fell $240 million (5.5 percent) to $4.2 billion in April 2015 compared with April 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

BusinessDesk: APN's NZME Sees Future In Paywalls, Growth In Digital Sales

APN News & Media has touted a single newsroom concept for its NZME unit in New Zealand, similar to what Germany's Die Welt uses, saying an 'integrated sales proposition' is helping it win market share, including ... More>>

Labour Party: Global Milk Prices Now Lowest In 6 Years

The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices ... More>>


BusinessDesk: NZ Inflation Expectations Creep Higher In June Survey

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand businesses lifted their expectations for inflation over the next two years, sapping any immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates, and prompting the kiwi dollar to jump higher. More>>

BusinessDesk: Lower Fuel Costs Drive Down NZ Producer Input, Output Prices

May 19 - Producer input and output prices fell in the first quarter, mainly reflecting lower fuel costs and weakness in prices of meat and dairy products. More>>

Media: Fairfax Media NZ Announces Senior Editorial Team

Fairfax Media New Zealand has today confirmed its new editorial leadership team, as part of a transformation of its newsrooms aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print. More>>

Science: Flavonoids Reduce Cold And Cough Risk

Flavonoids reduce cold and cough risk Research from the University of Auckland shows eating flavonoids – found in green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions – can significantly reduce the risk of catching colds and coughs. The research, ... More>>

BusinessDesk: RBNZ House Alert Speech The Catalyst For Government Action

Prime Minister John Key all but conceded that pressure from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for concerted action on rampant Auckland house prices was one of the main catalysts for the government's weekend announcements about tightly ... More>>

BusinessDesk: How To Fall Foul Of The New Housing Tax Rules: Tips From IRD

Just because you rented out your investment property doesn't absolve you from paying tax, says the Inland Revenue Department in a summary of commonly made mistakes by non-professional property investors when it comes to their tax liability.More>>

Legal: Superdiversity Law, Policy And Business Stocktake Announced

Mai Chen, Managing Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, today announced the establishment ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news