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Dulux Paint Sued Over ‘Cool’ Claims

Thursday, December 6, 2012

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Cool claims have landed Australia’s DuluxGroup Ltd. in hot water.

The Melbourne-based paint manufacturer has made deceptive claims about two of its paints’ ability to lower temperatures of a house and reduce energy costs, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Dulux Group Ltd,
DuluxGroup Ltd.

The watchdog group says Dulux breached consumer law with claims that its paints "significantly reduced energy consumption costs" in houses.

The commission, a consumer watchdog agency, announced that it filed a suit Wednesday (Dec. 5) in federal court against the paint maker.

In an e-mailed statement, a spokesperson for Dulux said the company has received pleadings in the case and is currently reviewing the allegations made regarding the nature of certain advertising and promotions for its recently launched heat-reflective coatings.

"Dulux takes these matters extremely seriously," the company added.

False Advertising Claims

ACCC alleges that Dulux breached Australian Consumer Law and equivalent provisions of the Trade Practices Act when it made false, misleading or deceptive representations by falsely representing that, when compared to standard paint of the same color:

  1. Dulux InfraCOOL paint applied to the roof of a house can and will:
  • Reduce the interior temperature of the living zones of that house by 10 degrees Celsius;
  • Significantly reduce the energy consumption costs associated with the house; and
  • Significantly reduce the carbon footprint, or environmental effect, associated with the house by reducing energy consumption costs associated with the house.
  1. Dulux Weathershield Heat Reflect paint applied to the exterior wall of a house can and will:
  • Reduce the surface temperature of the external walls by up to 15 degrees Celsius;
  • Significantly reduce the interior temperature of the house; and
  • Significantly reduce the energy consumption costs associated with the house.

“Dulux did not have reasonable grounds for making any of these representations,” ACCC argues.

The watchdog group says the company made the representations on a “national scale,” across a wide range of media, and on the “paint tins themselves.”

Dulux paint tin
directpaint.com.au

Dulux advertises that Weathershield Heat Reflect paint will "reduce the surface temperature of the external walls by up to 15°C. "

Dulux operates primarily in Australia and New Zealand and manufactures a vast portfolio of paints, protective coatings and home-improvement products under such well-known brands as Acra-Tex; Dulux Powder, Dulux Protective, and Dulux Auto Refinish Coatings; Cabot’s; British Paints; Berger Premium; and Selleys.

'Corporate Responsibility' on Claims

“Businesses are free to make claims in the promotion of their products, as long as their claims are truthful and have a reasonable basis,” said Rod Sims, ACCC chairman.

“Businesses have a responsibility to ensure that accurate information is given to consumers about the performance characteristics and benefits of their products. This is particularly the case where consumers may pay a premium to purchase products that are promoted as delivering particular benefits.”

Sims added that he believes Dulux has a “corporate responsibility” to ensure claims are accurate and based on adequate scientific or technical evidence.

“This is especially so in relation to energy use claims, given widespread consumer concern about the rapid increase in Australia’s electricity prices,” Sims said.

The ACCC is seeking declarations that Dulux contravened the consumer law, injunctions to prevent Dulux from similar conduct in the future, corrective notices from the paint company, penalties and costs.

A scheduling conference in the case is set for Feb. 5, 2013.

   

Tagged categories: Cool roof coatings; Dulux; Government; Laws and litigation

Comment from peter gibson, (12/6/2012, 1:33 PM)

Astounding a big corp like Dulux can lie like hell;then pretend they knew nothing.Typical of all the morons out there trying to play the environmental card.Just goes to show how dumb people are to believe such BS.


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