SHEEPSKIN footwear allegedly misrepresented as Australian-made has cost a Sydney-based company a fine of $10,800.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Kingdom Groups International Pty Ltd (Kingdom) has paid the penalty of $10,800 following the issue of an infringement notice by the ACCC.
The ACCC said it issued the infringement notice because it had reasonable grounds to believe that Kingdom had breached the Australian Consumer Law by making a false or misleading representation on its website about the country of origin of its footwear branded ‘UGG® Aries Sheepskin Australia’.
Kingdom’s Aries Sheepskin website featured images of the Australian Made logo attached to Aries Sheepskin footwear, as well as statements that the footwear was ‘truly Australian made’, and manufactured in ‘Junee, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory’.
The ACCC said it was concerned the statements and images on the Aries Sheepskin website represented to consumers that the Aries Sheepskin footwear products were manufactured in Australia, when in fact they were made in China.
ACCC deputy chair Dr Michael Schaper said the Australian Made logo is well-recognised and relied upon by consumers.
“The ACCC was concerned that it had been used to give consumers the impression that a product was made in Australia, when it was not.
“Country of origin claims are a particularly valuable marketing tool for businesses, as many consumers place a premium on goods that are Australian-made,” he said.
“In circumstances where consumers must rely on labels to identify where a product is made, it is particularly important that suppliers ensure that any country of origin claims they make are true.”
The ACCC’s investigation commenced following a complaint from Australian Made Campaign Ltd that Kingdom was using the Australian Made logo on products on its website.
The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the ACL. The ACCC said it can issue an infringement notice where it has reasonable grounds to believe a person has contravened certain consumer protection laws.