Thursday, April 25, 2024

Revitalife refunds $55k to lift chair customers after ACCC probe

A major therapeutic bed and lift chair supplier has refunded more than $55,000 to its predominantly elderly customers after admitting it had likely breached Australian Consumer Law.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns about the sales practices the company, Clews Holdings Pty Ltd, trading as Revitalife, used when selling its range of therapeutic adjustable beds and recliner lift chairs.

From at least July 2019 until January 2022, Revitalife made unsolicited calls to consumers offering to conduct a “sleep assessment” survey and arrange a home visit.

The company then visited the consumers at home and during the visit tried to sell them therapeutic adjustable beds and recliner lift chairs. The ACCC says Revitalife’s customers are predominantly elderly Australians.

“Revitalife admitted that it likely breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) when it failed to clearly disclose the true purpose of the unsolicited visit, and did not explain to consumers that it was obliged to leave the premises immediately if asked to do so,” the ACCC said in a statement today.

The ACL contains consumer protections which apply to unsolicited sales practices, such as door-to-door sales or telemarketing. These protections include requirements about the information a salesperson has to provide to consumers, for example, a salesperson must disclose that they are obliged to leave the consumer’s premises immediately if asked to do so.

“Consumer protections regarding unsolicited sales practices are very important, particularly for consumers experiencing vulnerability, and we believe Revitalife did not consistently adhere to these protections from at least 2017 to March 2021,” said ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard.

Revitalife also acknowledged the ACCC considers that it likely engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in some instances by representing to some consumers that its product recommendations were based on the results of the Sleep Assessment they completed, when in fact this was not always the case.

Further, the ACCC was concerned that Revitalife made false or misleading representations to some consumers about their consumer guarantee rights and their rights to a refund after terminating an unsolicited consumer agreement within the cooling off period.

Following engagement with the ACCC, Revitalife has identified consumers who may not have received their correct refunds and has paid a total of $57,646 in refunds to 49 consumers.

“Businesses who use unsolicited sales practices must ensure they are providing consumers with accurate information,” Ms Rickard said.

Revitalife has undertaken to update its complaints handling system and to establish and maintain a consumer law compliance program. The company has since ceased conducting in-home sales, amended its policies and practices, and removed terms from its sales agreements which the ACCC considered were unfair contract terms.

Revitalife ceased conducting in-home sales in January 2022.

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