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The JAA has closely monitored the recent Zamel's case in light of how it will affect retailers
The JAA has closely monitored the recent Zamel's case in light of how it will affect retailers

Major jewellery chains to meet after Zamel’s case

The JAA has called a meeting with major retail jewellery chains and the three buying groups to discuss the implications of the landmark ruling against retailer Zamel’s for misleading consumers.

The Jewellers Association of Australia’s (JAA) code committee has been closely monitoring the Zamel’s case with concerns regarding how it could affect two-price advertising practices in all retail industries, including jewellery. 

As reported previously by Jeweller, the Full Federal Court upheld the consumer watchdog’s case against the jewellery retailer in November 2013. The charges related to the context of two-price advertising in catalogues distributed nationally. 

The meeting with major chains is scheduled for Thursday 30 January and will cover the details of the judgement, the advice of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and proposed changes to the JAA code of conduct (Code). 

It will be attended by chains Prouds (which includes Angus & Coote and Goldmark), Michael Hill, Bevilles, Hoskings, Saleras, Wallace Bishop, Shiels and Zamel’s, which together represent about 1,000 stores. In addition, more than 1,500 stores will also be represented either through the three buying groups or the JAA.

Code of conduct changes
In light of the court’s decision, the code committee met with five senior ACCC personnel in December 2013 to discuss proposed changes to the Code and the procedures for referral of complaints. 

Colin Pocklington, JAA code chair
Colin Pocklington, JAA code chair
“The JAA has an important role to play in liaising with the ACCC and educating the industry in order to ensure compliance with the various fair trading laws,” JAA code chair Colin Pocklington said.

“It is essential for the jewellery industry to maintain a very high standard in ethical and professional conduct,” he added.

As such, the committee has updated the Code and is awaiting final comment from the ACCC in respect to these changes. 

“While the Zamel’s decision gives additional clarity to the law in some areas of two-price advertising, other aspects are still unclear. 
“The court decision is far reaching, and affects every sector of the retail industry. The Code aims to provide jewellery retailers with more detailed guidelines that will assist them in complying with fair trading laws, and achieve best practice,” Pocklington said. 

All members of the JAA are signatories to the Code and are bound by its rules.

Among the changes, Pocklington explained that there would now include the reference to an “aggressive discounter”, a term introduced in the appeal judgement. 

“The ACCC recommended that the JAA obtains legal advice on the interpretation of what is an aggressive discounter, and the proportion of items that need to be sold at the full price prior to a promotion commencing,” he said. The advice will be presented and discussed at the meeting.

“Also, a recommended disclaimer has been added as the impact of the judgment is such that this disclaimer will probably need to be used in a large proportion of ads from now on.”

The JAA will conduct a session on consumer law and the Code at the Australian Jewellery Fair at the Gold Coast in March.

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Saturday, 14 December, 2019 02:51am
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