The Commerce Commission has given Noel Leeming an official warning for selling products that were not in stock.
The Commission investigated Noel Leeming Group after receiving more than 100 complaints from consumers.
The complaints related to consumers not receiving their purchases within the delivery time Noel Leeming stipulated, customers not being able to contact the company to discuss the delays and not receiving refunds for the delays when requested.
The Commission said, in its view, Noel Leeming likely breached the Fair Trading Act by accepting payment for 37 Amazon Kindle products in early April when it had no remaining stock to fulfil these orders.
Noel Leeming removed this product from sale on 6 April, then informed its customers of the situation and offered a refund on 16 April.
It also said Noel Leeming likely breached the Fair Trading Act on 26 June and 2 July by advertising a DJI Ronin-SC Control Cable with a one to two week time frame for expected delivery, despite having an overdue existing order, and failing to establish with its supplier why there was a delay.
Commission chairperson Anna Rawlings said Noel Leeming Group faced unprecedented consumer demand and delivery services were significantly impacted at this time.
“It should have taken a more cautious approach to representations it made about product availability and delivery time frames,” she said.
“We have issued a warning to Noel Leeming for accepting payments for products which were not in stock to fulfill the orders that were taken.
“In addition, it advertised a product with a one-to-two week timeframe for delivery but it already had some overdue existing orders, and it hadn’t taken any steps to make sure it could make that delivery timeframe.”
Rawlings said the business had been relying on a normal supply chain.
“These issues as a result of Covid … so supply chains had been disrupted and the commission considered that Noel Leeming hadn’t taken adequate steps to investigate that and just to make sure that promises about delivery timeframes could be met… it should have, in our view, taken a more cautious approach.”
The Commission said Noel Leeming Group fully co-operated with its investigation and has advised it that it has since amended its approach to delivery representations.
The commission had a number of complaints about Noel Leeming and chose to investigate just a selection of them, Rawlings said.
It had also received a number of complaints arising from issues due to Covid-19 and some investigations into those issues were still under way.
The commission is not bringing any charges against Noel Leeming.
Rawlings said the business had a good track record, but if problems arose in the future, the issue would be taken into account when considering penalties.