Retailer fined for misleading product descriptions

The ACCC has issued a hefty fine to a fashion retailer for falsely marketing its products as being made in Australia.

Kingdom Groups International Pty Ltd paid the $10,800 penalty, which was issued because the ACCC believed the company was misleading consumers about the country in which its products were made.

According to the ACCC, the sheepskin footwear retailer had been using the Australian Made logo on its products and describing its footwear as “truly Australian made” on its website. However, the products were found to have been manufactured in China.

“The Australian Made logo is well recognised and relied upon by consumers. The ACCC was concerned that it had been used to give consumers the impression that a product was made in Australia, when it was not,” said ACCC deputy chair Dr Michael Schaper.

“Country of origin claims are a particularly valuable marketing tool for businesses, as many consumers place a premium on goods that are Australian made. In circumstances where consumers must rely on labels to identify where a product is made, it is particularly important that suppliers ensure that any country of origin claims they make are true.”

The Australian Made Campaign, which is responsible for issuing the logo, welcomed the ACCC’s action.

“Australia has an excellent reputation for producing quality products and produce, which makes us a target for copycat manufacturers and frauds,” said Ian Harrison, chief executive of the Australian Made Campaign.

“Consumers look for the Australian Made logo to identify genuine Aussie products, and Australian farmers and manufacturers rely on it to market their products, so it is of the utmost importance that we protect the integrity of the brand.

“We hope this sends a strong message to people that misuse of the logo will not be tolerated.”

The ACCC said that payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a breach of consumer law, but that penalties are issued when it has reasonable grounds to believe that a breach has been made.

 

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