The Federal Court has ordered UNJ Millenium to pay $55,000 in penalties after the company admitted making false or misleading claims about the origin of its sheepskin and wool bedding products. UNJ Millenium claimed its products were made in Australia, and contained 100% sheep wool or 100% alpaca wool.
Australian Made applauded the action taken by the ACCC, which led to the court case and subsequent finding against UNJ Millenium. Australian Made assisted the ACCC investigation at the outset of the matter and has now revoked UNJ Millenium’s authority to use the Australian Made logo.
Chief Executive, Ian Harrison, on behalf of the Australian Made Campaign condemned the misuse of country of origin claims intended to mislead and confuse consumers, particularly when those claims were falsely made using the Australian Made logo. Maintaining the integrity of claims that a product is Australian-made, particularly when the Australian Made logo is involved is of paramount importance, he emphasised.
Mr Harrison added that Australia’s strong nation brand gives local businesses a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
UNJ Millenium primarily marketed and sold its products to foreign tourists misusing country of origin claims, which Mr Harrison said sent out a bad message about Australia.
The Federal Court declared that UNJ Millenium had contravened the Australian Consumer Law (and the former Trade Practices Act 1974) for periods during 2010 and 2011 by claiming that:
- Sheepskin products, such as rugs and car seat covers were made in Australia by attaching the official ‘Australian Made’ logo, when in fact they were not made in Australia;
- Duvets, underlays and pillows were filled with 100% sheep wool by using the official ‘WoolMark’ logo, when the products were made of a blend of wool and polyester;
- Bedding products were filled with ‘pure alpaca fibre’, when the products only contained up to 20% alpaca wool