Lorna Jane has been fined $ 5 million for claiming her ‘anti-virus sportswear’ could stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The womens exercise and fashion retailer launched a marketing campaign in July last year that said its LJ Shield sportswear “eliminated”, “stopped the spread” and “protected wearers” from “viruses, including COVID-19”.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said co-director Lorna Jane Clarkson authorized and approved LJ Shield Activewear promotional material, was involved in wording and developing the images used in the marketing campaign and had personally made some of the false statements contained in a press release and Instagram video.
The allegations were made on in-store signage, on its website, on Instagram, in consumer emails and in press releases.
ACCC President Rod Sims this afternoon the marketing campaign was abusive, predatory and potentially dangerous and based on consumers’ desire for greater protection from the global pandemic.
The Federal Court ordered the company to pay a fine of $ 5 million.
Lorna Jane also admitted that she falsely claimed that she had a scientific or technological basis to make the “anti-virus” claims regarding her LJ Shield sportswear, when such a basis did not exist.
“It was appalling conduct because it involved making serious public health claims when they were unfounded,” Sims said.
Prior to the start of a liability hearing, Lorna Jane cooperated with the ACCC, making a confession and agreeing to make joint submissions regarding the imposition of penalties totaling $ 5 million.
The court also ordered by consent that for a period of three years, Lorna Jane is barred from making “anti-virus” claims regarding her sportswear, unless she has a reasonable basis to do so, must post corrective notices on media used in the marketing campaign, must establish a consumer law compliance program and must pay ACCC fees.