Kimberley-Clark Australia will pay a $200,000 penalty for falsely representing that a line of flushable cloths were made in Australia.
Today the Federal Court ordered Kimberley-Clark pay the penalty following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Kimberley-Clark falsely represented that its Kleenex Cottonelle flushable cleansing cloths were made in Australia on its website between October 2015 and February 2016.
The issue related to a static website footer that displayed a Made in Australia logo.
The product’s packaging contained the correct information that the wipes were actually made in Germany, South Korea or the UK.
A spokesperson for the company said the claim came as a result of a web publishing error, and not an intentional marketing strategy.
“All Kleenex Flushable Cleansing Cloths packaging and advertising have always accurately stated where the product is made,” a spokesperson for Kimberley-Clark said.
“The Made in Australia website logo was intended only for our Kleenex toilet paper products which are made in Millicent, South Australia.
“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.”
In the same case, the court dismissed a major point in the ACCC’s case as to whether the wipes were suitable to be flushed down the toilet.
It found Kimberley-Clark had not made false and misleading claims about the flushabilty of the wipes.
“This matter is separate to last year’s unanimous decision by the Federal Court of Australia that Kleenex Flushable Cleansing Cloths were designed to be, and are suitable to be flushed,” the spokesperson for Kimberley-Clark said.
“The issue has now been tested twice in the Federal Court and on both accounts they were found to be flushable, as clearly stated on packaging.”
ACCC Chair Rod Sims said it was important businesses are accurate with where their products are made because many consumers will choose Australian-made over other products.
“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.”
Kimberly-Clark agreed with the ACCC to make joint submissions to the court in relation to penalty.