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Booktopia to fork out $6m for misleading customers

Australia's largest online bookseller will fork out $6 million in penalties after it made false or misleading claims about consumer guarantee rights.

Booktopia admitted from at least January 10, 2020 until November 2, 2021, it misled customers through its online terms of business.

The terms claimed customers were only entitled to a refund, repair or replacement if they alerted the retailer to a faulty or wrong order within two business days of receiving a product.

Booktopia also admitted the terms misled customers by stating they were not entitled to a refund for digital products including eBooks for any reason, including if those products were faulty.

Additionally, it misled 19 customers by telling them about the two business days rule, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said.

"Consumers are entitled to return faulty products within a reasonable time and receive a refund, repair or replacement depending on the nature of the fault," the regulator's commissioner Liza Carver said.

"We do not know how many consumers may have been deterred from seeking a refund or replacement by Booktopia's misleading representations on its website."

The Federal Court on Friday ordered Booktopia to pay $6 million in penalties for the false or misleading representations and also demanded it publish a notice on its website within 21 days to correct the claims.

Booktopia also has to establish a consumer law compliance program.

In an ASX announcement, it acknowledged the statements it made were incorrect and inconsistent with its obligations under Australian consumer law.

"Booktopia takes its obligations under the Australian consumer law and its commitment to customer service very seriously and has co-operated with the (competition and consumer commission) throughout the process," chairman Peter George said.

"We are glad to put this behind us and to continue to serve Australian customers with the book buying experience they have known and loved for many years."

The competition and consumer commission launched court proceedings against Booktopia in December 2021.