A Brisbane man who made misleading online advertisements for dodgier online businesses was ordered to compensate for the damage by a court.
Lawyers representing the man, who did not want to be named, argued he was not responsible for the ads because he had not actually sold the products he advertised.
“The advertising is misleading,” barrister Andrew Lippold told the Queensland Supreme Court.
Mr Lippolds said the man did not even have a job and his company, Businessman’s World, was a family business, which meant it was not liable for the misleading ads.
The man had been charged with making false or misleading statements to a public officer and was expected to plead guilty to the charges.
He pleaded not guilty at a hearing on Wednesday, with the matter expected to be heard by the Supreme Court in March.
It was not clear if the man would appeal.
On Wednesday, the man’s lawyer, James O’Brien, said the case was about what was fair and reasonable.
“There is a balance that needs to be struck, that’s fair and equitable and that’s what we are going to try and do,” Mr O’Briensaid.
A magistrate agreed with Mr Lippsays it was “not a case of fair dealing”.
“There was no evidence to suggest the advertiser had an intention to deceive,” he said.
Justice Lipp said he did not consider the ad was false.
“It’s not true.
It’s not untrue,” he told the court.”
That is the bottom line of the ad.
That’s what the advertisement says.”
The advertisement included a disclaimer that it was an advertisement and was not meant to be taken literally.
But he agreed that the advertisers intentions were clear.
“If you are a customer of this website and you’re going to be misled about the goods you’re purchasing, you’re certainly going to ask that question,” Justice Lipp told the hearing.
Businessman’s world was not the only company involved in misleading ads, with another ad campaign for a spa in NSW showing a man’s face on a wall with a message that a spa could cure cancer.
Brisbane’s Sunshine Coast Police Service has also been fined $100,000 for misleading advertising.