What is misleading or deceptive conduct?
In promoting and marketing your business you are likely to make promises or statements about your business, your products or services. These statements might be made to:
- your customers directly (either orally or in writing)
- to the public at large, such as through newspaper advertisements, television or radio broadcasts, labels on your products, advertisements on billboards or via social media
- other businesses.
Statements that you make can contain direct or implied representations or claims. For example, a label on a wine bottle containing the words 'Made in Victoria from local ingredients' might well suggest to most customers that the grapes that form the wine are grown in Victoria and that the wine is processed in Victoria.
Another example of an inferred or implied representation is an advertisement that contains a picture of a recognisable celebrity with the product that you are promoting. The insinuation in this example is that the celebrity pictured endorses the product.
The general rule is that when a business makes any representation (directly or impliedly), the business must ensure that the representation is not untrue or false and it is not likely to mislead the type of consumers at which the advertisement is targeted.
More specifically, section 18(1) of the ACL states 'a person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive'.