De Longhi admits to making false environmental claims


Household appliance manufacturer De Longhi Australia has admitted to making false representations in its marketing materials that its portable air conditioners are 'environmentally friendly' and contain 'non-harmful gases' after concerns were raised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

De Longhi sells a range of portable cooling units that use harmful greenhouse gases - including R407C and R410A gases. It also sells 'ECO' model coolers that use R290 - a low impact global warming gas.

The company has now agreed to stop using unqualified claims that its products are 'environmental friendly' after the ACCC said its claims were in breach of the Trade Practices Act.

It has amended advertising for its ECO models to specify that R290 is the most environmentally friendly refrigerant gas currently available for use in domestic portable air conditioners and has published a corrective notice in the March edition of the trade magazine Appliance Retailer. It has also agreed to implement a trade practices compliance program.

"This is another reminder to businesses to be wary of engaging in misleading green and environmental claims" - ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel warned. "In particular, where traders are seeking to make claims regarding the environmental benefits of their products, they must ensure that they properly specify and explain those benefits in order to avoid misleading consumers."

The ACCC released a guide in February for companies using environmental claims to sell their products. It said the action was necessary as a growing number of companies are using green claims in advertising to differentiate themselves and their products from their competition.