Home Consortium opens doors of ex-Masters sites … Ad watchdog backflips on lamb ad … Finder.com.au fined $10,000 by ACCC

Masters store

The long-running saga of Woolworths’ failed hardware play Masters has drawn to a close, with the first of Home Consortium’s rebranded sites opening today in Queensland.

The Courier Mail reports the first store has opened north of Brisbane in North Lakes, with tenants including Toys R Us, Nick Scali Furniture and Chemist Warehouse. Home Consortium chairman David Di Pilla said in a statement that the company was hoping to have eight rebranded stores open around Australia by the end of the year, and 40 opened over 2018.

“We are delighted with the response to the openings that we have conducted over recent weeks in NSW, Victoria and Queensland,” said Di Pilla.

“We saw the opportunity to pick up a significant portfolio of new centres after the closure of Masters.”

Ad watchdog bans MLA lamb ad after review

An independent review into one of Australia’s most controversial TV advertisements has revised an initial Advertising Standards Board decision, deeming the ad unsuitable for TV and ordering it to be banned.

The ad from Meat and Livestock Australia received more than 200 complaints due to its depiction of various religious figures, most notably a depiction of Hindu god Ganesha which was viewed to be “making fun” of the deity.

In the decision, the ASB independent reviewer found the board’s initial decision to have “substantial flaws”.

“On all the information available I am satisfied that the Board has made a substantial flaw in its determination,” the reviewer concluded.

“After taking into account the Independent Reviewer’s finding that the Board gave insufficient weight to the views of complainants in regards to the Elephant Comment, the Board determined that the advertisement breached section 2.1 of the Code (Discrimination or Vilification Religion) and upheld complaints,” the Board said.

While disagreeing with the decision, Meat and Livestock Australia has confirmed the ad is no longer being broadcast.

Finder.com.au fined for misleading consumers

Financial comparisons and research website finder.com.au has been fined $10,800 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for misleading consumers around the number of health insurance policies it provides comparisons for.

The ACCC found that between February and May this year, finder claimed it compared between “roughly 65,000” health insurance policies, where the actual number was substantially less.

“The ACCC considered that Finder represented that its health insurance comparison service was more comprehensive than it was. In our view this was misleading and likely to divert consumers away from other online comparison services,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in a statement.

In a statement, finder.com.au said the initial number of 65,000, “took into account policy variations including state and structure of offers, with each variation generating a different price”.

“While there was no intent to mislead our customers, we regret any confusion or inconvenience,” the company said.

“This issue was isolated, and no other services on finder.com.au were affected. We’ve completed a full audit of our service and have put robust measures in place to ensure this doesn’t occur again.”

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