Hagemeyer Brands Australia, trading as Hagemeyer Appliances, has offered a court enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over "environmentally friendly" claims made about its Dimplex air conditioning products.
Between September 2005 and June 2006, Hagemeyer Appliances advertised particular models of Dimplex air conditioners through both the Dimplex and Hagemeyer websites and also through a brochure titled Come Home to Cool. Dimplex claimed that the air conditioners were "environmentally friendly" when this was not so.
The air conditioners contained R407C which is a potent greenhouse gas which will contribute to global warming if released into the atmosphere. While R407C is likely to be less harmful to the environment than certain other hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, such as R22 gas, R407C gas is not "environmentally friendly".
Following complaints, the ACCC advised Hagemeyer Appliances of its concerns that the advertisements contained false and misleading representations in breach of the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
Hagemeyer Appliances acknowledged that R407C gas is not appropriately described as "environmentally friendly". Accordingly, Hagemeyer Appliances agreed to cease making this claim about R407C in relation to its air conditioners and also to implement a number of corrective measures to ensure that consumers do not remain under any incorrect impressions about R407C.
Hagemeyer Appliances will:
- write to all customers who received a Come Home to Cool brochure to explain the effect of its conduct
- publish corrective notices in the Appliance Retailer trade magazine, and
- publish a corrective statement on the Hagemeyer and Dimplex websites.
The undertaking also provides for a strengthening of Hagemeyer Appliances' trade practices law compliance program.
"The ACCC considers misleading environmental claims to be a serious issue, particularly as consumers value environmental benefits when making their purchasing choices", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today. "This also reminds the air conditioning industry as a whole that misleading environmental claims will not be tolerated.
"Businesses must take great care that their advertising claims about any environmental benefits must be able to be substantiated.
"The ACCC acknowledges that Hagemeyer Appliances responded immediately and constructively to addressing the ACCC's concerns".
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