Breast Check in trouble for not checking breasts
Breast Check Pty Ltd was fined $75,000 (and its director $25,000) for advertising that its breast imaging services could scientifically determine whether someone was at risk of developing or having breast cancer, and that they were an adequate substitute for mammograms.
The Court found that Breast Check’s claims were without a proper scientific basis and that they had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.
Thankfully, Breast Check no longer provides services for breast imaging.
Another company, Safe Breast Imaging Pty Ltd, suffered the same fate last month for similar offences. It copped a $200,000 fine. The ACCC has been particularly ferocious on dodgy medical claims of late.
On the topic of breast checking
We’re told that the ACCC has, as part of an international campaign, been performing a crackdown on dating websites for misleading and unfair terms.
The ACCC is concerned that the fine print on dating websites is causing people to be drawn into ongoing contracts, when they thought they were simply getting a free trial.
Our advice, better check those T’s & C’s on your Tinder app.
ACCC on the heels of daily deals
After its success in taking on Scoopon last year – who were fined $1 million for making false and misleading claims – the ACCC has now set its sights on Spreets. We all know how annoying those daily deal emails can be (no, my teeth do not need whitening thank you very much), but what you may not know is some of the offers being made by the deal sites are in breach of the law.
Even though Spreets, which is owned by Yahoo!7, has since changed its business model, the ACCC is pursuing it for making false or misleading representations in 2011 and 2012. The misleading conduct related to the price of deals (hidden costs), the purchaser’s ability to redeem their vouchers and their entitlement to a refund under consumer law. One such example was a woman who bought a voucher for a Spa salon that had an expiry date in one year’s time. She tried to book an appointment with the salon, but there was no availability until after the expiry date and Spreets refused to give her a refund.
The case will most likely be decided next year. In the meantime remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Maggie Beer in the freezer
Maggie Beer, the hipster-gourmet burnt fig and honeycomb ice cream producer (among other things) was investigated recently by the ACCC for making representations on a number of its product labels that its goods were manufactured in the Barossa Valley in South Australia, when they were actually produced in Victoria and, OMG, Queensland. An obvious example is the Maggie Beer logo which states “Maggie Beer A Barossa Food Tradition”. Apparently, South Australia is cooler than we thought and consumers want their money’s worth!
Maggie Beer has acknowledged that its conduct was likely in breach of consumer law and has given an enforceable undertaking to amend its labels, undertake a review of its consumer law compliance procedures and publish an article in Food Magazine.
Not ideal PR for Beer, whose daughter, Beer junior, was also required to give an enforceable undertaking this year for representations her food company made regarding the breed of pig that was used in its Black-Pig smallgoods. After a struggle, we've resisted the beer puns temptation.
Optus may say “Yes”, but Telstra says “No”
Everyone’s favourite telco, Telstra, has cooperated with an ACCC investigation into complaints that Telstra staff misled consumers to believe that they were not entitled to refunds, replacements, or repairs on their faulty mobile phones.
Consumers cannot under Australian law sign away their rights and suppliers cannot limit consumer guarantees, for example by refusing to replace a faulty product. The ACCC was concerned that Telstra staff were not conveying this message.
Telstra has agreed to provide training for its staff on consumer rights and guarantees. Telstra will also provide signage and information in store and maintain a consumer guarantee webpage. Also, Jess Mauboy says sorry.