Look-alike Horse Float Vendor – False and Misleading Representations
It has been brought to our attention by a growing number of people that a WA based float vendor has copied the look of our floats in every way and even used our name on the side of their product for short period of time until ordered to stop doing so. This vendor has reportedly been telling potential float buyers that their competing brand of Floats is manufactured by or in some way connected to the Imperial brand of horse floats. This is an unequivocally false and deliberately misleading statement in breach of Consumer law and Federal Competition and Consumer legislation.
The design of their product and the deliberate misuse of our name is seemingly an attempt to fool unsuspecting buyers to believe they are purchasing a genuine Imperial float. The product itself is a mass produced knock off product rebadged to a name that did not exist anywhere 18 months ago. Their look-alike float range has been sold for over 12 months now is proving to have significant and fundamental quality issues. We were recently advised that 27 of them had to have their floors replaced entirely due to the high risk of the horses falling through. We recently received correspondence that one of these floats was purchased new and driven from WA to Sydney for Equifest and barely arrived requiring significant repairs to be fit to make the return journey. The owner had approached Imperial in Sydney to make those repairs. Please be aware, this product may look like an Imperial float but that is where the similarity ends.
The purpose of their actions to make their product appear like the Genuine article along with their ill-fated attempt to use our name alongside theirs would seemingly be to deliberately mislead the general public to perceive the quality and brand reputation of Imperial floats to be associated with their product. it has certainly had that effect for many people who have contacted imperial seeking warranty and or to clarify this naming issue.
The following is not offered as legal advice, rather a general range of potential paths that may prove useful to those affected by this ongoing issue. We are constantly receiving inquiries from victims for this issue and have decided to offer the following outline of recommended strategies for those who wish to take action with a view to rescinding their purchase contract and seeking a full refund for the purchase of these inferior and misrepresented products.
if you have been duped into purchasing a product whereby you have been misled to believe it is an Imperial float and sold under another brand, please do not hesitate to contact imperial directly to report your experiences. This will contribute to our ongoing investigation into this matter.
You may also choose to pursue one or all of the following courses of action;
Contact the vendor directly with a letter of demand (send via registered post and keep the record) outlining your reasons for the complaint, your demand terms and your intent to lodge formal complaints with the statutory regulatory authorities (Fair trading and ACCC) and that you intend to commence legal action for their breach of consumer law and false and deceptive statements as inducement to contract in breach of federal legislation and allow 14 days for a formal reply; Note having a solicitor draft the letter will have far more impact.
if not adequately resolved after 14 days, you may;
Lodge a formal complaint with the Department of Fair Trading citing the breach of consumer law as the product does not match the description and was offered to you using false and misleading information about the product as an inducement to contract. Ensure to provide witness statements as affidavits along with all relevant documentation. This will create immediate pressure for the vendor.
Fair trading can sometimes misunderstand the true nature of a problem and may not be as helpful as you may like; if this occurs; Lodge a formal action with the Consumer Tribunal in your state, for example, the SAT (State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia) that has direct and binding jurisdiction over motor vehicle dealers (horse float vendors) in that state. This is an excellent low-cost solution to most issues. Ensure to provide every detail of written evidence along with witness statements in affidavit form and personal affidavits. Other legal avenues such as court proceedings are also available though the Tribunal is the most cost-effective with potentially the fastest results and you do not require a solicitor to represent you.
You may also wish to connect with other affected parties using social media to discover and connect with people and share your experiences and they can share theirs with you and the group, make sure you visit numerous horse related blogs and especially ones where people are talking about that brand of float and share a link back to your page and this one so people can see the truth about the product. Starting a blog post or creating a Facebook page for the issue can be very effective way to create a beacon for affected parties. Exchanging experiences will generate very useful evidence for both you and the people you share with as multiple evidenced examples of this conduct will create enormous pressure on the offending company to provide full refunds for monies illegally obtained under a false pretence. The evidence obtained may also become useful to Statutory bodies who may be tasked to investigate the offenders conduct if numerous complaints are received.
We trust the above information provides additional clarity and we are pleased to provide any assistance you may need including additional supporting evidence from other reported instances of this issue.