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30/01/2003

ITC impose £10,000 sanction on Auctionworld

The ITC have imposed a financial penalty of £10,000 on Auctionworld, a teleshopping auction channel, for breaches of the ITC Code of Advertising Standards and Practice.
The channel launched in November 2001. Within the first few months of business the ITC received a large number of complaints from viewers claiming that their goods had not arrived within the advertised delivery period. The ITC upheld these complaints and warned Auctionworld that any similar compliance breaches in future would be likely to result in a formal sanction.
Although there were improvements, between the end of May and July 23 2002 the ITC received a level of complaints serious enough to pursue investigations in relation to 19 specific cases of delayed or non-delivery of items.
The ITC asked Auctionworld for an explanation, to which they admitted delays in relation to all 19 complaints, but said that their procedures aimed at detecting suspected fraudulent transactions could cause delays in some customers receiving their goods. However apart from claiming that they had proved fraud in five of the 19 cases, at no stage did Auctionworld provide any specific details in relation to any of these cases.
The Commission concluded that the channel was in breach of the ITC Code. A substantial financial penalty was merited as this was the second time the ITC had intervened in respect of Auctionworld's poor delivery performance, and because the Commission felt that Auctionworld had been less than open in their provision of information to the ITC.
However, the Commission noted evidence that Auctionworld's delivery performance had improved considerably in recent months and judged that a lower sum was appropriate.
A fine of £10,000 was imposed, to be paid by the licensee within 28 days of notification.
(GB)
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