Two suppliers of solar panels in Australia are the latest to
feel the wrath of the Australian Competition and Consumer
Commission (ACCC) for alleged misrepresentations
made whilst promoting their products.
The ACCC has commenced proceedings against the operators of Euro
Solar and Australian Solar Panel, alleging that that they have made
false or misleading representations about the country of origin of
the solar panels they supply, as well as the use of false
testimonials on their websites.
It is alleged that these businesses represented that the solar
panels they supplied were made in Australia when, in fact, they
were actually manufactured in China. In addition, it is alleged
that testimonials used by these businesses to promote the quality
of their solar panel products were not made by genuine
Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), it is
an offence to make a false or misleading representation
the place of origin of goods or
a testimonial by any person relating to goods.
The ACCC has also commenced proceedings against one of the
directors for being knowingly concerned in, or a party to, the
The maximum penalties for a breach of these provisions of the
ACL are $1.1 million per offence for a body corporate and $220,000
per offence for an individual.
Highlighting the attention that the ACCC is giving to these
types of offences, the Chairman of the ACCC, Rod Sims,
The ACCC is currently
prioritising work in the areas of credence claims and fake
Consumers should be able to rely
on the accuracy of labels, especially when they are prepared to pay
a premium for products made in Australia ...
... Fake testimonials can mislead
consumers as a great deal of trust is often placed on these
reviews. They also harm competitors who do the right
These proceedings serve as a reminder to business owners not to
advertise goods or services in a manner that may be false or
Business owners should regularly check the representations they
make about their goods or services. Some representations that may
not be false or misleading when first made have the potential to
become false or misleading over time.
Where a business chooses to use reviews and testimonials as a
method of promoting its goods or services, those testimonials must
be genuine, correct and able to be evidenced if later
The penalties for false and misleading representations can be
high, so it is important for all businesses, not just solar panel
suppliers, to give these types of issues due attention.
The Sportscraft refunds and returns policy limitations went beyond consumer's rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
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