True Value Solar Pty Ltd has paid two infringement notices totalling $13,200 and provided a court enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regarding misleading advertising.
"Companies need to ensure that their advertised claims accurately reflect the product or service being offered," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
"The solar industry's technical jargon is likely to confuse consumers, so solar companies must therefore ensure that they accurately advertise the performance characteristics and benefits of the system being offered."
On 26 January 2011, True Value Solar published advertisements in newspapers in South Australia and Western Australia and sent advertisements to around 80,000 consumers that promoted an 'Australia Day 3kW Deal'.
The solar panel system included 8 x 190W solar panels and a 3kW inverter but was limited to the maximum output of the panels which was 1.52kW and less than the advertised 3kW. The ACCC raised concerns with True Value Solar that its advertisements were misleading to consumers.
Following an investigation by the ACCC, True Value Solar has acknowledged that its advertising was likely to have contravened the Australian Consumer Law.
The court enforceable undertaking requires True Value Solar to implement a trade practices compliance program to ensure that this kind of conduct does not occur again.
The payment of an infringement notice penalty is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law. The ACCC can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.
The infringement notices and court enforceable undertaking will be available on the Public Register on the ACCC's website at www.accc.gov.au.
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