Any claims a small business makes about its products have to be backed by adequate scientific or technical evidence.
DuluxGroup has been ordered to pay penalties totalling $400,000 for making false or misleading representations in its marketing.
The Federal Court found that the paint giant made false or misleading claims about the temperature-reducing characteristics of two paint products.
The legal proceedings were initiated by the ACCC, Australia’s consumer watchdog, which took issue with two marketing claims.
First, Dulux promoted its heat-reflective roof paint, InfraCOOL, as a paint that could reduce the interior temperature of the living zones of a house by up to 10 degrees.
Second, Dulux promoted its Weathershield Heat Reflect wall paint as a paint that could significantly reduce the interior temperature of a house.
The court found that Dulux did not have any reasonable grounds for making either of these claims, according to the ACCC.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims said businesses must give consumers accurate product information, and ensure that their claims are backed by adequate scientific or technical evidence.
“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 was also ordered to pay the ACCC’s legal costs and to publish corrective notices in The Australian and on its website.