On 21 December 2020, the ACCC commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against Lorna Jane over its “Anti-virus Activewear’ claims.
Lorna Jane made claims in July 2020, via its website, Instagram accounts, Facebook, in-store advertising and garment tags that the substance sprayed on its activewear called ‘LJ Shield’, eliminated and stopped the spread of COVID-19 and provided protection against viruses and pathogens, when this was not the case.
The ACCC noted that most of the claims were removed in July, but until at least November 2020, Lorna Jane continued to represent on garment tags that the garment permanently protected the wearers against pathogens.
The ACCC alleges that Lorna Jane engaged in conduct that was:
- misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive in contravention of section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) (contained in Schedule 1 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth));
- made false or misleading representations that ‘LJ Shield Activewear’ had a standard or quality which it did not have in contravention of section 29 (1)(a) of the ACL;
- made false or misleading presentations that ‘LJ Shield Activewear’ had performance characteristics, uses and/or benefits which it did not have in contravention of section 29(1(g) of the ACL and engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public as to the nature, characteristics and/or suitability for the purpose of ‘LJ Shield Activewear’ in contravention of section 33 of the ACL.
The ACCC is also alleging that Ms Lorna Jane Clarkson, the CEO of Lorna Jane was a party to or knowingly concerned in these contraventions.
The ACCC is seeking declarations, penalties, injunctions, correction notices and an order to implement a compliance program.
The ACCC’s actions come off the back of the Therapeutic Goods Administration issuing an infringement notice of $39,360 against Lorna Jane back in July for similar claims.
Whilst the matter is not yet finalised, it is a timely reminder that the ACCC has prioritised consumer and competition issues arising from the pandemic and the need for care to be taken when promoting and advertising products.
We will continue to monitor and update you on the outcome of these proceedings.
If you have any questions or concerns relating to any of the information in this blog or you require assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a lawyer in Coleman Greig’s Commercial Advice team, who would be more than happy to assist you