The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court, Sydney against Sanyo Airconditioners Manufacturing Singapore Pte Ltd, trading as Sanyo Airconditioning Australia, alleging misleading and deceptive conduct in claiming environmental benefits for its air conditioning units.
The ACCC alleges that Sanyo's environmental marketing claims, such as "environmentally-friendly HFC 'R407C' Added" and "for a new ozone era – keeping the world green", which appear in Sanyo's brochures for the Eco Multi Series air conditioners:
- misled consumers and businesses by not indicating the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant R-407C used in its air conditioner units does not benefit the environment;
- misled consumers and businesses by not indicating that R-407C is a powerful greenhouse gas and once released into the air is a significant agent contributing to climate change; and
- misled consumers and businesses by not clearly indicating several of the units featured in Sanyo's promotional materials use hydrochlorofluorocarbon R-22 as a refrigerant, which is a powerful greenhouse gas and an ozone depleting substance.
The ACCC alleges that Sanyo Airconditioners Manufacturing Singapore Pte Ltd breached section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974, which prohibits conduct by a corporation that is misleading or deceptive, or is likely to mislead or deceive; section 53(c), which prohibits a corporation from representing that goods have performance characteristics or benefits they do not have; and section 55, which prohibits conduct by a corporation that will mislead the public as to the nature or characteristics of goods.
The ACCC is seeking court orders against Sanyo Airconditioners Manufacturing Singapore Pte Ltd including declarations, injunctions, orders relating to the disclosure of specific information, orders relating to the implementation of a trade practices compliance program and costs.
A directions hearing for this matter is listed before Justice Lindgren on 9 October 2003 in the Federal Court, Sydney.
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