Stephen King, courtesy of http://www.monash.edu.au/news/show/impressions-count-when-it-comes-to-misleading-consumers … with some extensions in the web-links from this Editor.
Christmas is coming, which means consumers are out looking for great deals to fill stockings and feed the family. And for retailers and manufacturers, the temptation to add “spin” to their marketing is high. However, these businesses must be careful not to step over the legal line when trying to boost their sales. Under Australia’s competition and consumer laws, a business must not engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive, or that is likely to mislead or deceive. Of course, the devil is in the detail. When does marketing hype turn into illegal behaviour?
A current matter before the courts provides a good example of the issues. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking legal action against a number of poultry companies. At the heart of this matter is the term “free to roam”. Specifically, have the poultry producers engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by claiming that their chickens have been raised in barns where they are “free to roam,” despite those chickens each having only about 500 square centimetres of space?
This case has brought a variety of responses from experts in animal welfare. Two examples are here and here. However, these experts miss the point. The law does not simply highlight claims that are incorrect from a scientific perspective. Rather, the law considers if the claims made by a producer are likely to mislead or deceive consumers. Continue reading