Importers of the $3000+ Envirotect vacuum cleaner have been warned by the Commerce Commission that their promotional claims risk breaching the Fair Trading Act.
The warning follows a complaint we made to the Commission that the company was misleading consumers about the vacuum's performance and falsely claiming environmental and quality certifications.
In February this year, we reported an Envirotect cleaner came bottom in our test of top-end vacuums. This over-priced product scored no better for carpet cleaning than a vac you can buy for less than $100. We also reported that claims the vacuum was certified to two ISO standards were untrue.
The Commission has now formally warned the importers, a company called Healthy Air Products, that its certification claims risk breaching the Act and reminded it that any performance claims need to be "accurate and truthful". The company has also been warned for falsely claiming it was an "executive sponsor" of The Radio Network’s Special Children's Christmas Party. While the company had been a sponsor in 2008, the Commission said the sponsorship had lapsed. Despite this, Healthy Air Products continued to promote its association with the event.
Envirotect vacuums have been sold door-to-door by various companies and we've written numerous articles about the hard-sell methods used to flog them. We don't like these cleaners or the tactics employed by door-to-door sales staff selling them.
We want the Commission to have wider powers to take action against companies like this that breach the Act. At present, only the courts can determine whether a breach has occurred. We're calling for the Commission to have the power to fine companies when there's a clear-cut violation of the law.
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