Dulux Paint to Pay Fine for ‘Cool’ Claims
A federal court in Australia has ordered international coatings manufacturer DuluxGroup Pty Ltd to pay a $400,000 AUD ($306,992 USD) fine for making false or misleading claims about two of its cooling paint products.
The order, issued Tuesday (Nov. 1), also requires the company to print corrections in Australian media and on its website. The order resolves a four-year long case brought by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission against the Melbourne-based paint maker.
For years, the company promoted its heat-reflective roof paint, InfraCool, as paint capable of reducing the interior temperature inside of a house by up to 10 degrees Celsius. Another product, Weathershield Heat Reflect wall paint, also promised to reduce the internal temperature of a house by as much as 15 degrees Celsius.
In both instances, the federal judge found the claims to be false or misleading after Dulux admitted that it did not have any reasonable grounds for making those representations.
For instance, while some tests were conducted in the formulation of the InfraCOOL product, the company stated it did not “conduct or obtain any studies or tests in which InfraCOOL Paint was applied to the roof of any house and the temperature of the interior living space of that house was measured,” according to the order.
In a statement following the ruling, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said, “Dulux promised a real consumer benefit at a premium price, apparently supported by scientific evidence, when in fact Dulux had no reliable evidence of what benefit could be delivered in real world conditions because it had not tested for any reduction in the room temperature of houses painted with these products.”
Dulux also agreed to not to make similar representations unless it has reasonable grounds for doing so and to clearly and prominently explain the factors that may reduce the effect of applying heat reflective paint.
The company was also ordered to publish corrective notices in The Australian newspaper and on its website, and to pay the ACCC’s legal costs of $150,000 AUD ($115,156 USD).
Dulux did not immediately respond Friday (Nov. 4) to request for comment on the ruling. However, the company provided the following statement to Smart Company, “[It is] disappointing that it has taken this amount of time and money to reach an outcome that we largely conceded soon after the ACCC commenced its action in 2012”.
“While the court found that Dulux’s conduct falls into the ‘lower to middling range of seriousness’, it is a matter that Dulux takes extremely seriously.”
“We never set out to deliberately deceive and as soon as we learned of the breach, we withdrew the relevant advertising, took immediate steps to correct it and cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation.”
Dulux operates primarily in Australia and New Zealand and manufactures a vast portfolio of paints, protective coatings and home-improvement products under such brands as Acra-Tex; Dulux Powder, Dulux Protective, and Dulux Auto Refinish Coatings; Cabot’s; British Paints; Berger Premium; and Selleys. The company no longer sells the Weathershield Heat Reflective Paint.