Spreets to pay penalties of $600,000 for misleading consumers

The Federal Court has ordered Spreets Pty Ltd to pay total penalties of $600,000 for making misleading representations to consumers about deals offered on its online group buying website.

The Court declared that between June 2011 and April 2012 when operating one of Australia’s largest online group buying websites, Spreets contravened  Australian Consumer Law by engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations about the price of certain deals, consumers’ ability to redeem vouchers, and consumers’ refund rights.

“Online consumer issues remain an enforcement priority for the ACCC. The Court’s decision is a further reminder for online traders that the Australian Consumer Law applies to them, including consumer guarantees” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

“All online businesses, including those offering daily deals, must ensure that representations made on their websites are clear and accurate, particularly in relation to price and any restrictions on a deal being offered, including availability and redemption conditions.”

Spreets agreed to joint submissions on penalties and a statement of agreed facts to be filed with the Court, and consented to the other orders made by the Court.

Following the ACCC’s investigation, Spreets also took steps to update and improve its compliance program.

Spreets no longer offers deals directly to consumers. It now gathers and publishes deals offered by a range of third party online group buying sites.