Advertising and selling guide

False or misleading claims

In addition to the prohibition against misleading or deceptive conduct, it is unlawful for a business to make false or misleading claims about goods or services.

A misrepresentation is a claim or statement that is false or misleading made by one party to another. This includes claims or statements that you make in television or radio advertisements, in catalogues, on labels, on websites, in contracts (or during contract negotiations), over the telephone, in correspondence (such as letters or emails) or in person.

Whether a claim or statement is false or misleading will depend on the circumstances.

You must not make false or misleading claims or statements, for example, that goods are of a particular standard, quality, value, grade, composition, style or model or have had a particular history or particular previous use.

There are also specific rules against making false or misleading claims or statements about services and about the sale of land or employment. Section 29 of the ACL sets out the types of claims or statements that may be false or misleading.

Related information: False or misleading claims
Legislation: Australian Consumer Law section 29

Real case study: The Federal Court found that a car manufacturer made false or misleading claims in advertisements for one of its vehicles.

The manufacturer represented that the vehicle had seven seats as a standard feature when in fact five seats was the standard configuration.

The manufacturer also represented that the ‘drive away’ price for the vehicle was $79 990 when in fact a purchaser would have to pay additional fees or charges for dealer delivery, statutory charges and two additional seats.

Case law: Federal Court of Australia - [2007] FCA 1990
Media release: Court declares motor vehicle advertising misleading