Australian Made applauds ACCC action on misleading claims
Thursday, November 01, 2012
The Australian Made Campaign today welcomed the Federal Court's decision to order Gold Coast retailer, UNJ Millenium Pty Ltd, to pay $55,000 in penalties after admitting it made false or misleading claims that sheepskin and wool bedding products were made in Australia, and contained 100% sheep wool or 100% alpaca wool.
Australian Made applauded the action taken by the ACCC which led to the court case and subsequent finding against UNJ Millenium.
Australian Made assisted the ACCC investigation at the outset of the matter and as a result of the finding has now revoked UNJ Millenium's authority to use the Australian Made logo.
"We condemn the use of country of origin claims intended to mislead and confuse consumers, particularly when those claims are falsely made using the Australian Made logo," Australian Made Chief Executive, Ian Harrison said.
"Maintaining the integrity of claims that a product is Australian-made, particularly when the Australian Made logo is involved of paramount importance," Mr Harrison said.
"Australia has a very strong nation brand, which gives local businesses a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It is crucial that this is maintained."
UNJ Millenium primarily marketed and sold its products to foreign tourists, in particular to Korean and Chinese tourists visiting the Gold Coast.
"The practice by some retailers of misusing country of origin claims and selectively selling products to tourists, often at inflates prices, sends a very bad message about Australia. It is a practice we would like to see stamped out," Mr Harrison said.
The Federal Court declared that UNJ Millenium had contravened the Australian Consumer Law (and the former Trade Practices Act 1974) for periods during 2010 and 2011 by claiming that:
- sheepskin products, such as rugs and car seat covers, were made in Australia by attaching the official "Australian Made" logo, when in fact they were not made in Australia
- duvets, underlays and pillows were filled with 100% sheep wool by using the official "WoolMark" logo, when the products were made of a blend of wool and polyester;
- bedding products were filled with "pure alpaca fibre", when the products only contained up to 20% alpaca wool.