Sydney, April 14: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Honda Australia Pty Ltd for making false or misleading representations to consumers about two former authorised Honda dealerships, Brighton Automotive Holdings Pty Ltd (Astoria) in Victoria and Tynan Motors Pty Ltd (Tynan) in NSW.
The ACCC alleges that between last January and June, Honda Australia represented to customers of Astoria and Tynan that the dealerships would close or had closed and would no longer service Honda vehicles.
In fact, the franchise agreements with Astoria and Tynan had been terminated after Honda’s restructure but both of these businesses were continuing to trade independently and were continuing to service vehicles, including Hondas.
“While Astoria and Tynan were no longer a Honda franchisee, they remained open as independent dealerships and were able to service Honda vehicles,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said.
The ACCC alleges that in emails, text messages and phone conversations, Honda informed Astoria and Tynan customers that these businesses had closed and directed customers to contact a Honda dealership or Honda Service Centre to book their next service.
“We allege Honda deprived customers of the opportunity to make an informed choice about options for servicing their car in favour of a Honda-linked dealership which may have been less convenient or more costly for them,” Carver said.
“We also allege Honda caused harm to the Astoria and Tynan businesses, by falsely claiming they had closed or would close, which may have led customers to have their Honda vehicles serviced elsewhere.”
“It is important that independent dealerships can service vehicles of all brands, and from July 1 dealerships will have fair access to the necessary technical information from all manufacturers to service and repair all makes of cars,” Carver said.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, pecuniary penalties and costs.
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