Sydney carpet cleaning company carpetexpress is set to close its doors at the end of this month, after a string of high-profile scandals.
In June, the company was forced to cut a deal with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to avoid being fined for breaching anti-competitive terms and conditions.
In July, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) found that carpet express had engaged in “systemic unfair conduct” by breaching Australian Consumer Law.
And in August, the regulator ordered the company to pay $100,000 to its former Australian Workers Union (AWU) boss, Paul Sheehan.
But it seems that Australian carpet cleaners may be looking for new places to do business in the US, as it was announced last week that US carpet cleaners will no longer be allowed to do their business in Australia.
The move comes after a number of other carpet cleaners and other carpet companies, including the Australian carpet supply chain company Cuffers International, were also hit with a number a high-stakes court action related to the alleged rigging of Australian and New Zealand electoral markets.
A group of US carpet suppliers and suppliers who were allegedly involved in rigging Australian electoral markets have been awarded $10 million and $20 million damages from the Federal Court.
The US carpet supply company Cuffeders International said it is now reviewing its Australian operations and is “shifting focus to focus on our international operations”.
It is the latest in a string from carpet suppliers across the US that have been hit with similar lawsuits.
A recent case involving a carpet supplier in Illinois, which had its operations shut down by a US federal court in November 2016, is set for hearing this week.
“In the last two months, carpet supply companies have been ordered to pay tens of millions of dollars in fines in a number court cases across the country,” the company’s lawyer told the Chicago Tribune.
“We have also filed civil lawsuits against carpet suppliers in states as far away as California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, and other states.”
A separate lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court of Illinois in December 2016, which also alleges that carpet supply firms “fraudulently” misled consumers and investors about the reliability and durability of their products, was set to go to trial this week, the Chicago Daily News reported.
A US carpet supplier is also seeking $10.5 million from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been conducting an investigation into carpet supply firm Cuffed, alleging that the company has not been complying with its obligations under the Federal Trade Agreements Act.
The FTC is currently seeking an injunction preventing Cuffed from engaging in any future sales or marketing activities in the United States.
In December, the FTC found that “in some instances, Cuffed has engaged in unfair conduct by making false or misleading statements to consumers in order to promote its products and services”.
The agency said it would pursue “all remedies available under the law” to recover “adverse financial, reputational and other damages”.
According to the court filing, the lawsuit alleges that the firm “did not provide consumers with a reasonable assurance that their products and their service were safe, reliable, and of acceptable quality, and that it would not engage in any other conduct that could have been reasonably expected to cause consumers harm”.
However, the court also noted that the FTC would not seek any punitive damages for the alleged misrepresentations.
The court said it was “aware that Cuffed is considering its options and is assessing its next steps”.