Consumers who bought electronic pest repellents through the Danoz group of companies may get refunds after negotiations with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
"The Danoz group of companies will take corrective action after allegations it was making misleading claims concerning its Pest Contro and Pest Offense devices," ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today. "The devices plug into a 240v power socket and allegedly repel insect and rodent pests through ultrasonic or electromagnetic pulsations.
"Since 1997 over 240,000, in various models, have been supplied to consumers or wholesalers".
Danoz Direct Pty Ltd, Danoz Directions Pty Ltd and Emjoi Australasia Pty Ltd (Danoz) have offered court-enforceable undertakings after ACCC concerns about false and misleading representations made about the efficacy and sponsorship of the devices.
Representations made on packaging, television commercials, and in catalogues include, in various instances, that the device:
- is environmentally safe and eliminates the necessity of using unhealthy and expensive chemicals to stop unsightly and unhealthy pests and rodents
- produces an electromagnetic disturbance and an ultrasonic barrier, causing an irritating pulsation that drives pests out of a home
- will disrupt the nests of pests inside walls
- covers a 2500sqft area
- has been approved in Europe, America, Canada and Japan and has won the Royal Smithfield award for innovation in the United Kingdom and
- is the environmentally safe and effective way to get rid of pests.
"The ACCC believed these representations overstated what Danoz was able to substantiate and therefore were false and misleading in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974", Mr Samuel said. "This was because there was little evidence to demonstrate that the devices worked to the extent that Danoz stated or implied or that the devices had the sponsorship or approval to the extent that Danoz stated or implied. This case should alert traders that when they make claims concerning efficacy they should ensure that they have a proper basis for such claims".
Danoz acknowledges that in making the representations, it may have contravened the Act. In cooperating with the ACCC to resolve the matter, Danoz provided court-enforceable undertakings to:
- cease making the alleged false and misleading representations
- place corrective apologies on its website, in its catalogues and on television
- offer refunds to its customers who purchased the product since July 1997 and who believe they were misled by the representations and
- expand its current trade practices compliance program.
"The ACCC acknowledges the cooperation of Danoz in providing these undertakings and in particular the money-back offer to affected consumers".
The ACCC is also aware of similar products that are in the market and is concerned at some of the claims being made in relation to these devices.
"Sellers of these devices should exercise due diligence to ensure that any claims they make about the operation or efficacy of these devices have a sound basis in fact".
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