A company that went door-to-door convincing people to buy electronic goods on expensive payment plans has been hit with a $114,000 court fine for misleading customers.
However, Appenture Marketing Limited is unlikely to ever pay a cent of the fine after earlier going into liquidation, sentencing Judge Mary-Beth Sharp said.
She nevertheless wanted to send a strong message to others in the "notorious" industry, known as mobile trading, to "think twice" before offending in a similar way, she said in the Auckland District Court on Sunday.
Appenture was earlier found guilty of 24 charges.
This included for misinforming customers they could not cancel their order if a product's delivery was delayed as well as claiming such delays were not the responsibility of the company, the Commerce Commission said.
It said Appenture also acted misleadingly by telling customers it had the right to give them a different product to that promised, if the original item was not available.
Appenture also tried to charge customers interest on unpaid purchases, even after these products had been repossessed and sold, the commission said.
It said Appenture visited homes throughout the North Island, knocking on doors as it attempted to sell electronic goods on instalment payment plans that were often "significantly higher" than mainstream retailers.
"For example, in March 2016 it offered an Apple iPhone 6S for $4440 when the same model was then available from a major retailer for $1399," the commission said.
An earlier Commerce Commission report on the mobile trader industry found they were able to attract customers because although the total payment for a product might have been higher, the weekly or fortnightly payments could be as low as $10 or $20.