An Auckland company is being dragged over the coals in a dispute with the exclusive reseller of Weber BBQs after it was found to be bringing the popular outdoor cookware brand into New Zealand.
Mavericks Group is facing legal action in Auckland High Court by R McDonald Co, the authorised head-distributor of Weber BBQs in New Zealand.
R McDonald Co alleges Mavericks was selling a design of Weber BBQs not meant to be available in New Zealand.
R McDonald Co first became aware of Mavericks selling the US-made BBQs in January 2016, allegedly marketing and selling them without authority to do so online.
Mavericks says it offers the "best price for Weber Barbecue Grills and Accessories in New Zealand" on its website.
Mavericks is selling some models of the branded BBQs cheaper than elsewhere.
For example, a Weber portable Go-Anywhere BBQ, although listed with slightly different model numbers, are sold for $159 in Mitre 10 and $144.99 in Mavericks.
Another BBQ, the Weber Smokey Joe, is sold for $139 at Mitre 10 and $99.99 from Mavericks.
It appears most BBQ models Mavericks is selling are earlier versions.
R McDonald Co, according to a decision on a pre-trial matter, is seeking an injunction to stop Mavericks from selling the brand of BBQs and continuing its operation. It claims it has breached various sections of the Fair Trading Act by and identified three causes of action for the breaches.
It alleges misleading and deceptive representations on its website, the removal of Weber trademarks leading to safety and warranty concerns, and deceptive conduct by falsely representing to WorkSafe and public that its products complied with relevant safety regulations.
Mavericks director Michael Bishara, according to the pre-trial decision, has acknowledged the company undertook parallel importation of the BBQs and that it intended to sell the products. But Mavericks is challenging R McDonald's claims and said the company is not the owner of Weber branding.
Bishara denied claims Mavericks' business model was misleading or deceptive but admitted that the company's temporary use of domain name www.weberonline.nz was misleading.
Bishara declined to comment when approached by the Herald.
The case is due to head to the High Court next year.