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Australia Kimberley-Clark fined $200,000 over 'misleading' claims flushable wipes were made in Australia

01:28  17 february  2021
01:28  17 february  2021 Source:   msn.com

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diagram: The ACCC provided images of the flushable wipes and the website footer with the made in Australia logo. (Supplied: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) © Provided by ABC Business The ACCC provided images of the flushable wipes and the website footer with the made in Australia logo. (Supplied: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)

The makers of Kleenex flushable wipes will have to pay a $200,000 fine after the Federal Court found they falsely told customers the products were manufactured in Australia.

Kimberly-Clark Australia (KCA) accepted its use of the logo saying they were made in Australia on its websites for the products was false or misleading because the flushable wipes were foreign-made.

The website made the false representations between October 28, 2015 and February 24, 2016, while the products' packaging correctly stated the products were imported.

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"The contraventions occurred as part of a desire to promote KCA's Australian made Kleenex Cottonelle toilet paper products without considering that the representations would appear in such a way that it would indicate that all products promoted on the Kleenex Cottonelle website were made in Australia," Federal Court Justice Wendy Abraham said.

"I accept that the contraventions occurred by oversight, that the situation was remedied when brought to KCA's attention and it cooperated with ACCC at an early stage."

A spokesperson for Kimberley-Clark said the logo was mistakenly displayed in the footer of the website as a result of a publishing error.

"The made in Australia website logo was intended only for our Kleenex toilet paper products which are made in Millicent, South Australia," the spokesperson said.

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"This was an unintentional web publishing error displayed in a static footer of the Kleenex Cottonelle brand website between October 2015 and February 2016, and it was removed as soon as it was brought to our attention."

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims said the penalty was a warning to businesses to ensure product information on their websites was accurate.

"We know many Australian consumers place a premium on goods that are Australian-made," Mr Sims said.

"This penalty should remind businesses of their responsibilities to ensure that representations on their website or packaging about the country of origin are accurate, so that consumers can make informed purchasing decisions," Mr Sims said.

The judgment drew to a close the five-year legal battle between the consumer watchdog and the personal care giant over its flushable wipes.

The ACCC's separate claim that the wipes weren't suitable to be flushed because they caused harm to sewerage infrastructure was dismissed by the Federal Court in 2019.

A later appeal, claiming the wipes "posed" a risk of harm, was also dismissed.

AAP/ABC

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usr: 1
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