Gillette honours promotion after ACCC action 7 March 1996 A Gillette "cash-back" personal products promotion has been substantially expanded following Australian Competition and Consumer Commission action - and consumers will be the winners.

Gillette Australian Pty Ltd agreed in the Federal Court, Adelaide to refrain permanently from advertising, offering for sale, or selling any product using the cash back offer labels which appear on its Gillette Regular Shave Gel, Gillette Sensitive Skin Shave Gel and Gillette Series Aerosol Anti-Perspirant Deodorant - but will honour those currently on the market.

Cash-back offers induce consumers to purchase a goods on the promise that they will receive a partial refund of purchase price.

The ACCC took action against Gillette alleging that the company had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct over its "$2 Cash Back" offer on 200g cans of the shave gels and its "$3 Cash Back" offer on 130g cans of the deodorant.

"The ACCC alleged that the "customer panels" attached to the products represented to consumers that they were entitled to cash back for every purchase of the product," ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.

"But the conditions of the offer were not visible to consumers before they bought and only became visible once the perforated panels were removed.

"One of the conditions purported to limit the cash back offer to 'only one claim per person'. Gillette put the labels on about 42,700 cans of the shave gel and about 17,100 cans of the deodorant."

The ACCC had sought interim and permanent injunctions and corrective advertising orders against Gillette.

"The ACCC moved to obtain the injunctions after Gillette did not offer an acceptable undertaking to cease making the representations and issue corrective advertising. But Gillette subsequently placed advertisements* in all of the major metropolitan daily newspapers offering to honour the cash back offers for every tagged purchase.

"Gillette has agreed to honour the cash back if consumers have proof of purchase, a full or partial coupon, or the packaging with remnants of the coupon attached.

"Consumers should be aware of Gillette's refund offer because the products are still available in some retail outlets.

"As Gillette issued corrective advertising, will honour the cash back offer for every purchase, and has now provided an undertaking, the parties agreed to resolve the matter to avoid the costs of litigation.

"This is a matter which goes to the heart of retail competition," Professor Fels said.

"Cash back offers have become a common and powerful marketing tool and traders competing with one another should not use hidden conditions to mislead consumers into buying their products. Not only does that type of conduct deceive consumers but it damages those traders who comply with the law. All material conditions must be clearly visible to consumers at point of sale."