The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) ordered Safety Compliance Pty Ltd (“Safety Compliance”) to pay fines of $515,000 at the end of last year. This was the result of the misleading representations made by the company when supplying safety wall charts and first aid kits to small businesses. Below, we set out what lessons your business can learn from this case.
Background and the Business’ Activities
The company produced first aid kits and wall charts, which Safety Compliance aggressively telemarketed to small businesses. This investigation resulted from the company actively targeting small business and providing them with false information. Namely, that consumers were required to have the type of equipment that Safety Compliance sold to meet their workplace health and safety obligations. The company also incorrectly suggested that they were in some way linked to a government agency which administered workplace health and safety issues. The decision reflected concerns that these types of targeted campaigns providing false information were an issue, and the importance of protecting smaller businesses.
If you are concerned about your obligations about workplace health and safety, you should seek legal advice or consult with your local workplace health and safety body. A scam of the sort described was likely exploiting the concerns business owners have about meeting their obligations. You should be wary of any business approaching you in this manner. If you are presented with information about your legal obligations, particularly not by your own legal representation, you should do some research as to what are your responsibilities in the situation.
If you think you might have been targeted as a part of a scam, you can always contact the ACCC as they may be able to investigate these services and the business. If you are being intimidated about making payments or chased about a product in this manner, let us know.
Business Practices Breaching Australian Consumer Law
When running a business, you should be sure that you do not promote or sell your products in a way that may mislead consumers. This includes the way you present your business, products and services as well as how you advertise the product. This type of conduct can have serious financial implications for your business, negatively impact on your brand as well as negatively impact your staff. Individuals working for Safety Compliance also received individual fines and were disqualified from managing a company for several years. You should take your obligations as a Company Director very seriously and fully understand your duties.
If you have questions or concerns about the way in which you are marketing or selling products, we can help.
Get in touch with our advertising, marketing and consumer lawyers if you have any questions about complying with advertising regulations when selling your products.