GO Healthy cops $337,500 for misleading consumers.
Misleading consumers about the country-of-origin of its products has resulted in supplement company GO Healthy New Zealand being hit with a $337,500 fine.
It claimed supplements were made in New Zealand when key ingredients in the majority of its products were imported.
Following a Commerce Commission investigation, GO Healthy pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court to three charges its advertising breached the Fair Trading Act.
The ads, which ran from December 2014 to December 2018, used “New Zealand Made” to describe GO Healthy supplements and implied key ingredients were from New Zealand. However, of more than 130 products, only eight were made exclusively from ingredients originating here.
Since 2018, GO Healthy has amended most of its marketing materials to state products are “New Zealand Made From Imported and Local Ingredients”.
Commission general manager competition and consumer Antonia Horrocks said “consumers are entitled to rely on the information provided by retailers about where a product originated. GO Healthy breached that trust by misleading its customers”.
While country-of-origin labelling laws were introduced last year, they don’t apply to nutritional supplements.
This isn’t the first time misleading country-of-origin claims have landed companies in hot water.
In 2017, Topline International and its director were fined $526,500 after falsely claiming its Chinese bee pollen was New Zealand-made.
In 2016, New Zealand Nutritionals was pulled up by the High Court for misleading consumers. Two of its dietary supplements were claimed to be “100% New Zealand Made”, but all the active ingredients in the products were imported.
Since 2011, the commission has prosecuted 11 companies and 11 individuals for selling imported alpaca rugs as “Made in New Zealand”, and/or for claiming duvets were predominantly alpaca, merino wool or cashmere when they were not.