Representations about products or services
The ACL prohibits businesses from making a number of specific false or misleading representations about products or services. Section 29(1) states that:
A person must not, in trade or commerce, in connection with the supply or possible supply of goods or services or in connection with the promotion by any means of the supply or use of goods or services, make a false or misleading representation:
- that goods are of a particular standard, quality, value, grade, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use
Case study: Audi admitted that it had made false or misleading representations with respect to the standard or quality of certain vehicles when it pictorially advertised them with seven seats even though these vehicles only contained five seats.
See: ACCC v Audi Aust Pty Ltd  FCA 1990
- that services are of a particular standard, quality, value or grade
Case study: The respondent was found to have made false and misleading representations by claiming in its advertising that it had a government affiliation when this was not true and therefore represented a standard or quality it did not possess.
See: ACCC v Optell Pty Ltd  FCA 602
- that goods are new
- that a particular person has agreed to acquire goods or services
- that purports to be a testimonial by any person relating to goods or services
- concerning a testimonial by any person or a representation that purports to be such a testimonial relating to goods or services
- that goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance characteristics, accessories, uses or benefits
Case study: The respondent made false or misleading representations about the performance characteristics, uses or benefits of its mobile network services by promoting and selling the service in remote areas where the mobile coverage was not available.
See: ACCC v EDirect Pty Ltd (in liq)  FCA 976
- that the person making the representation has a sponsorship, approval or affiliation
- with respect to the price of goods or services
Case study: The respondent was a builder who pictorially represented the homes it could build in brochures. The respondent admitted to making false or misleading representations about the price of goods by showing pictures of features of the homes that were only available at a higher price than what was advertised.
See: ACCC v Metricon Homes Qld Pty Ltd  FCA 797
- concerning the availability of facilities for the repair of goods or of spare parts for goods
- concerning the place of origin of goods
- The respondent made false or misleading representations about the place of origin of goods by advertising that its footwear was 'made in Australia' when the footwear was made in China.
See: ACCC v Marksun Aust Pty Ltd  FCA 695
- The respondent made false, misleading and deceptive claims by promoting that its baked products were ‘Baked Today, Sold Today’ and in some cases ‘Freshly Baked In-Store’, when these bread products were partially baked and frozen off site by a supplier, transported and ‘finished’ at in-store bakeries.
See: ACCC v Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Limited  FCA 634
- concerning the need for any goods or services
- concerning the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy.