Kimberly-Clark fined for advertising mix-up

One of the region’s largest employers has been fined $200,000 by the Federal Court for misleading advertising. Kimberly-Clark Australia has 400 employees and contractors at its Millicent Mill and the national corporation was penalised by the court for wrongly stating on its website five years ago that its flushable wipes were made in Australia.

In its response to the judgment, KCA said it acknowledged the error and had promptly corrected the mistake. The court action had been initiated by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission.

Federal Court justice Wendy Abraham said the KCA website made the false representations between October 28, 2015 and February 24, 2016, while the products’ packaging correctly stated the products were imported.

“The contraventions occurred as part of a desire to promote KCA’s Australian made Kleenex Cottonelle toilet paper products without considering the representations would appear in such a way that it would indicate that all products promoted on the Kleenex Cottonelle website were made in Australia,” Ms Abraham said.

“I accept the contraventions occurred by oversight, the situation was remedied when brought to KCA’s attention and it cooperated with ACCC at an early stage.” The logo was mistakenly displayed in the footer of the website as a result of a publishing error.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the Federal Court penalty was a warning to businesses to ensure product information on their websites was accurate.

Mr Sims said many Australian consumers placed a premium on goods that are Australian-made. The ACCC had made an earlier but unsuccessful separate claim the wipes were not suitable to be flushed.

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