ACCC takes retailer to court over mislabelling

EziBuy has offered refunds to purchasers of its “mohair throws” and “pashmina shawls” after acknowledging its fabric labelling and advertising may have been misleading and deceptive.

EziBuy has offered refunds to purchasers of its “mohair throws” and “pashmina shawls” after acknowledging its fabric labelling and advertising may have been misleading and deceptive.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from EziBuy, a company incorporated in New Zealand but which trades on both sides of the Tasman, over labelling and advertising of the items.

EziBuy retails clothing and homewares throughout New Zealand via the internet, mail catalogues and retail outlets. In Australia, EziBuy sells its products via mail catalogues and its internet website www.ezibuy.com.au.

The ACCC says the company incorrectly labelled and advertised a throw as a “mohair throw” or “pure mohair throw” when the fibre content of the throw was approximately 65% acrylic and 35% mohair.

EziBuy also incorrectly labelled and advertised a shawl as a “pashmina shawl” with a fibre content of 70% pashmina (cashmere wool) and 30% silk in circumstances where the fibre content of the product was actually a cotton/polyester blend.

More recent representations concerning the shawl followed earlier problems with the labelling of the throw which Ezibuy had previously drawn to the ACCC’s attention following action in New Zealand.

EziBuy has acknowledged that the labelling and advertising of the throws and shawls is likely to have been misleading and deceptive in contravention of sections 52, 53(a) and 55 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The ACCC has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from EziBuy that:

  • All future advertising (whether in the EziBuy mail order catalogues, on the EziBuy websites, in-store or any other advertising) for all of its product range will accurately describe the composition, quality or standard of the product range.
  • It has published corrective advertising in two catalogues.
  • It has placed corrective advertising on its Australian website.
  • It has re-labelled all current stock and new season stock of the throws.
  • Has offered refunds to any customers misled by the labelling.
  • It has implemented a Trade Practices compliance program and will administer the compliance program for a period of two years.

ACCC chairman, Graeme Samuel, said labelling and advertising must accurately describe the product.

Inside Retailing

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