Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Under the new Australian Consumer Law (aka the old Trade Practices Act), businesses including helmet manufacturers and promoters may not engage in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive - nor may they make false or misleading representations about affiliation characteristics, standard, quality or benefits.
The test as to whether businesses are engaging in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive is whether 'the astute and the gullible, the intelligent and the not so intelligent, the well-educated as well as the poorly educated, men and women of various ages pursuing a variety of vocations' would be misled.
In a nutshell, claims for products must be:
...which means that any 'touted' benefits must be real, & not overstated. Furthermore, 'disclaimers' can never correct a false misleading main statement ever ever ever. Similarly forecasts or predictions' will be deemed to be misleading unless there are reasonable grounds for the claim.
Given the clearly stated 'trade practice' safeguards, it is arguable that the spin attached to helmet protection could mislead consumers into thinking that a bicycle helmet might offer complete cycling protection.
In light of all this, how did bicycle helmet promoters ever convince Australian politicians to go down the helmet-law pathway when the requisite substantiation was missing?
Surely it is only a matter of time before the ACCC will have to release a 'Safety Marketing Guide' to ensure businesses do not mislead their customers with the fanciful protection claims?