Court hands down judgment on hair straightening product

1 August 2014

The Federal Court has found that Dateline Imports contravened the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) by making false and misleading representations about the natural keratin in its Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy hair straightening product, in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The Court held that:

  • Dateline’s representation that its Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy hair straightening product was comprised of at least 35% natural keratin was false and misleading, with the court finding  that it contained less than 7% natural keratin
  • Because the product contained less than 7% natural keratin, Dateline’s representation that it had the benefit of infusing at least 35% natural keratin into the hair of customers using the product was false and misleading
  • Dateline’s representation that a ban on the product by the Ireland authorities would be overturned was misleading, and Dateline’s managing director Mr David Taylor, was knowingly concerned in this contravention because he knew that Dateline did not have reasonable grounds for making this representation.

“The Court found that Dateline Imports made false and misleading representations about the level of natural keratin contained in the product and the benefits of this keratin. It is important for consumers to be able to reply on representations by manufacturers about the composition and benefits of their products, especially personal products where the consumer is unable to assess these claims,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

The ACCC had also alleged that Dateline Imports had made false and misleading representations when it stated that the Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy hair straightening product did not contain formaldehyde and that it was safe for use by consumers. The Court found that these allegations were not established by the ACCC.

“The ACCC is disappointed that the Court did not accept its allegations in relation to formaldehyde concerns with this product, as we commenced these proceedings due to safety concerns for consumers and hair salon workers being exposed to formaldehyde.”

The ACCC is considering the judgment. A date for a hearing on relief and costs will be set by the court.

Release number: 
MR 191/14
Media enquiries: 
Media team - 1300 138 917

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