Harvey Norman Among The Worst Retailers When It Comes To Complaints Claims NSW Fair Trading
Harvey Norman has been identified as one of NSW Fair Trading’s worst offenders when it came to complaints about the company’s operations.
Harvey Norman were close to the top of the list with 29 complaints, behind them was Air Asia with 25 complaints.
It was only 12 months ago that the mass retailer of consumer electronics and appliances was identified as being the most expensive retailer to buy gear from.
Three years ago chairman Gerry Harvey was caught out complaining about the service in his own stores when he dressed up in disguise “as a”pensioner” for a TV show.
At one stage Gerry Harvey mumbled “that was shocking” when he tried to get information for one of his salespeople at Harvey Norman store.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner, Rod Stowe, explained that the Complaints Register is a win for consumers, giving them greater information and choice in the marketplace.
“This register empowers consumers to make informed decisions, and provides an incentive for traders to improve their business practices and accept full accountability for the goods and services they provide,” said Mr Stowe.
Several businesses have already engaged with NSW Fair Trading and taken steps to reduce the number of complaints and avoid appearing on the register. It’s not known whether Harvey Norman is one of those companies that is working with New South Wales Fair Trading to reduce the complaint levels.
What it does come to complaints about products Harvey Norman takes little responsibility. When purchasing goods from manufacturers or distributors there is often clauses in their contracts that allow Harvey Norman to take back goods and ship them directly back to a Melbourne-based sorting group who then liaises with the manufacturers.
“The register encourages the marketplace to regulate itself, and publishing monthly allows businesses the chance to improve their complaint handling procedures.” Mr Stowe said.
NSW Fair Trading said that they had recently met with senior representatives from a large national business carrying a significant product range, to identify complaint trends and establish methods to resolve issues.
As a result of their engagement with Fair Trading, the business employed new staff to oversee their complaints handling process and provided additional resourcing to mitigate complaint levels. The new procedures resulted in a significant decrease in complaints lodged with NSW Fair Trading. It is not known whether this company is Harvey Norman as the company is refusing to comment on the issue.
Mr Stowe defended the decision to aggregate data under the overarching brand name for retail groups and franchises.
“This is the name these traders use when promoting their businesses to the public and this is the name consumers identify with when making a transaction,” Mr Stowe said.
The legislation establishing the Complaints Register had bi-partisan support when it passed through the Parliament last year and the underpinning guidelines have been endorsed by the NSW Commissioners for Information, Small Business and Customer Service.