Cor­rect la­bels needed

Midland Reporter - - Opinion - With Act­ing Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sioner David Hill­yard

AS con­sumers, we make pur­chas­ing de­ci­sions based on the in­for­ma­tion con­tained on la­bels, pack­ag­ing and in ad­ver­tis­ing of prod­ucts.

For that rea­son it’s im­per­a­tive that in­for­ma­tion is cor­rect.

I want to re­mind WA busi­nesses of their obli­ga­tion to en­sure la­bels on their prod­ucts are ac­cu­rate and high­light a re­cent Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion prose­cu­tion re­sult as a warn­ing.

Ear­lier this month, a roof in­su­la­tion com­pany was fined $18,000 for mis­lead­ing con­sumers about the qual­ity rat­ing and stan­dard of one of its prod­ucts.

Golden Bay Prop­er­ties Pty Ltd, trad­ing as Jum­buck Wool In­su­la­tion, was also or­dered to pay costs to­talling $11,968 when sen­tenced at the Al­bany Mag­is­trates Court on April 6.

In Septem­ber 2014, an of­fi­cer from Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion pur­chased polyester in­su­la­tion ma­te­rial from the busi­ness with the la­bel claim­ing the prod­uct had an R-value rat­ing of 3.0, which com­plied with Aus­tralian stan­dards.

The R-value rates the level of ther­mal re­sis­tance of the in­su­la­tion.

The prod­uct was tested by the Aus­tralian Wool Test­ing Au­thor­ity, which showed that it failed to meet the stan­dard in­di­cated on its la­bel and had a less-than-de­clared ther­mal re­sis­tance.

The Court ac­cepted that the of­fence un­der the Aus­tralian Con­sumer Law was un­in­ten­tional and the com­pany had since re­viewed its pro­duc­tion pro­cesses to rem­edy the prob­lem.

In this case, con­sumers pur­chas­ing the in­su­la­tion would ex­pect it to have the in­su­lat­ing ca­pac­ity claimed. The long term heat­ing and cool­ing costs would have been greater for the pur­chaser.

Whether in­ten­tional or not, if con­sumers are mis­led by false in­for­ma­tion about a prod­uct, it is a se­ri­ous of­fence and may re­sult in fi­nan­cial penal­ties as in this case, as well as dam­age to the rep­u­ta­tion of the busi­ness.

In­for­ma­tion about truth in ad­ver­tis­ing is avail­able on the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion web­site www.com­merce.wa.gov.au/cp.

Con­tact Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion by email con­sumer@com­merce.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.

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