ACCC fines Dulux for misleading consumers about room-cooling paint

The consumer watchdog has won a four-year battle against Dulux Group, with the federal court fining the company $400,000 for misrepresenting two of its paint products.dulux-representation-1

The action, launched by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in 2012 alleged that Dulux had mislead the public with claims Infracool and Weathershield Heat Reflect paints were able to reduce the temperature inside homes.

Earlier this year Dulux was named the sixth most trusted brand in Australia for 2016, according to Reader’s Digest.

Dulux’s Infracool and Weathershield Heat reflect were advertised on the company’s website and Facebook page as well as in magazines, newspapers, television advertisements, flyers and colour-cards.

Lisa Walters, corporate affairs manager at Dulux Group, said Heat reflect has not been sold for more than three years as it was a niche segment that represented less than 1% of the Australian paint market.

Dulux’s Infracool is still on the market, however a brochure that overstated the amount it would reduce temperatures was removed four years ago when the company was alerted.

Launching the case against 2012 ACCC chairman, Rod Sims, said: “Businesses are free to make claims in the promotion of their products, as long as their claims are truthful and have a reasonable basis.”

“The ACCC believes Dulux has a corporate responsibility to make sure any claims it makes are accurate and backed by adequate scientific and/or technical evidence.”

The court found the claims made by Dulux were false after the company admitted it had no solid evidence to back the information.

Sims welcomed the result.dulux

“Dulux promised a real consumer benefit at a premium price, apparently supported by scientific evidence, when in fact Dulux had no reliable evidence of what benefit could be delivered in real world conditions because it had not tested for any reduction in the room temperature of houses painted with these products,” he said.

Dulux accepted to the Court’s finding and will pay penalties totalling $400,000 and as well as make public apologies, both in The Australian and on its website.

The company admitted that while experts did test the products, the advertising material exaggerated the extent of the benefit.

“This matter occurred more than four years ago and is related to a very small, niche range of specialist heat reflect paint products,” it said in a statement.

“It’s disappointing that it has taken this amount of time and money to reach an outcome that we largely conceded soon after the ACCC commenced its action in 2012.

“While the court found that Dulux’s conduct falls into the ‘lower to middling range of seriousness’, it is a matter that Dulux takes extremely seriously. We never set out to deliberately deceive and as soon as we learned of the breach, we withdrew the relevant advertising, took immediate steps to correct it and cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation.”


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