Noni B, Katies retail brand owner fined $630,000 for breaching consumer laws

Mosaic Brands received five ingringement notices for false and misleading advertising of its health essential hand sanitiser and face masks

The owner of women’s fashion brands including Katies, Millers and Noni B has been fined more than $600,000 for multiple breaches of the Australian consumer law relating to its health essential product line.

ASX-listed Mosaic brands received five infringement notices from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) worth $630,000 relating to false or misleading advertising in relation to its hand sanitiser and face masks on its website and via direct marketing between March and July 2020. The products were grouped under the company’s ‘Health Essential Products’ offering.

The action against Mosaic came after a complaint from consumer advocacy site, Choice, which led to the ACCC commissioning independent testing of the company’s hand sanitisers.

Off the back of this, the ACCC found a sample of the ‘Air Clean’ hand sanitiser sold on the Noni B website, which was advertised as containing 70 per cent alcohol, was found to contain just 17 per cent alcohol when tested. Similarly, a sample of the ‘Miaoyue’ hand sanitiser sold by Millers contained 58 per cent alcohol but had been advertised as containing 75 per cent alcohol.

In both cases, results were under the minimum 60 per cent alcohol concentration recommended by Australian health authorities. The Consumer Goods Information Standard released new requirements in 2020 that hand sanitiser manufactured from 24 May 2020 display the amount of alcohol contained as a percentage by volume.

In addition, Mosaic’s Velcare-brand hand sanitiser products were advertised as being WHO-approved but were not, while KN95 Kids Safety face masks were advertised as being CE/FDA certified but were not. KN95 Adult face masks were also shown as non-refundable even though consumers have a statutory right to a refund under. Mosaic sold tens of thousands of these products.

The ACCC noted all of these products were advertised at the height of Australia’s first COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown, leading to intense public concern around using sanitiser and face masks. Mosaic’s products used distinct branding in response to the crisis, including phrases such as ‘be prepared’, ‘stay safe and clean’ and ‘these are uncertain times and as the COVID-19 situation changes, we will be too’.

Another concern for the ACCC was Noni B and Katies sites advertising Velcare hand sanitiser with the tagline, ‘Protect yourself from viruses and germs during uncertain times with this 10 x pack of 100ml WHO-approved hand sanitiser’.

Mosaic Brands has admitted its conduct contravened Australian Consumer Law and been fined $630,000 across five separate infringement notices. The company is also expected to identify and contact customers who purchased sanitiser in the same batches as those tested by the ACCC and refund the purchase price, as well as provide refunds to those who purchased KN95 Kids Safety face masks. The company must also offer a refund to those who were previously told they couldn’t get a refund on the KN95 Adult face masks and undertake a range of compliance and testing programs for a period of three years.  

The notice covers the following Mosaic Brands: Noni B, Autograph, BeMe, Crossroads, katies, Millers, Rivers, Rockmans and W.Lane. The group operates 1333 retail stores nationally as well as dedicated ecommerce sites for each brand.

“Businesses must never mislead their customers about the certification, quality or properties of their products, but we were particularly concerned about the representations by Mosaic Brands because the statements which Mosaic Brands has admitted were false or misleading related to certain protective health properties at the time of a global pandemic,” ACCC deputy chair, Delia Rickard, stated.

“Our investigation also found that mosaic brands’ Kids KN96 mask was not certified by European and US standard authorities as they had advertised.”

The latest case follows ACCC’s action against the Lorna Jane also alleging breaches of Australia’s consumer law for false and misleading advertising around its ‘LJShield’ clothing technology, which it claims can protect wearers against viruses including COVID-19.

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here. 

You can also follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page

 

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Launch Marketing Council Episode 3: Launching in the technology sector

Our multi-part video series, Ready to Launch, is focused on unlocking the secrets of launching brands, products and services by exploring real-life examples from Australia’s marketing elite. The series is being produced as part of the Launch Marketing Council initiative by CMO in conjunction with independent agency, Five by Five Global.

More Videos

NetSuite started out as a cloud-based provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software or as NetSuite solution provider, which companies...

talalyousaf

NetSuite to acquire Bronto's digital marketing platform for US$200m

Read more

Thanks for sharing this post, its really good information I get through this blog.CDPO Online Exam Training

Infosectrain01

3 ways Booking.com is improving its B2B marketing game

Read more

Time is of the essence, especially for customer service teams. With chatbots, you can interact and assist customers at a larger scale, al...

Jai

Triple-digit customer database growth, personalised engagement become reality for Stone & Wood

Read more

Hey Emilie - great read, and I particularly liked the section on the pressure of having brand purpose/Gen Z spending habits. It's great t...

Chris Thomas

Have customers really changed? - Marketing edge - CMO Australia

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

Blog Posts

How the CMO can get the board on the customer’s side

For some CMOs, it’s easy to feel alone in the undying quest to better serve the customer. At times, it feels like the marketing department and the boards are speaking a different language, with one side trying to serve the customer, and the other side more focused on the shareholders and financials.

Jeff Cooper

CMO and board, Business Excellence Australia

The Secret Ingredients of a CX-Led Company Culture

When I talk to organisations around the world about their customer experience strategy, it is often the CMOs and their marketing teams who take the lead. They’re keen to improve the ways they attract and engage customers, and they want to understand the technologies that can help them make their customer experience truly outstanding.

Steven van Belleghem

Author, CX expert

The Future Of Social Is Joyful, Pass It On

2019 was a horror year for social media. But in 2020 something different emerged that has shifted the tone, format and intent of the medium. A new social vibe born out of the pandemic and fuelled by the emergence of a platform tailor made for the next generation of consumers.

Dan Young

Managing director, Pulse

Sign in