What is meant by ‘misleading advertising’? Under Australian Consumer Law a supplier is obligated not to engage in misleading or deceptive conduct or to make false or misleading representations. Put in the context of advertising the consumer must not be given the wrong impression about what is on offer. (Advertising material includes print, catalogues, website, radio and television.) Two recent actions by the ACCC demonstrate the concept of ‘misleading advertising’. In July 2011 an action against Optus (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Singtel Optus Pty Ltd (No 4)) Optus was penalised to the tune of $5.26m for misleading advertising (across a range of media) in relation to its Think Bigger broadband internet offer. Another large penalty ($1.25m) was handed down in December 2011 against high street trader Harvey Norman, in this instance misleading consumers as to the geographical availability of goods advertised in promotional catalogues.
These are big ticket items however all business is encouraged to carefully check advertising material to ensure that dealings with consumers are open and fair.
Compliance Essentials can assist your business in compliance with Australian Consumer Law; contact us at
www.complianceessentials.com.au or free phone 1300 602 880