The best way to learn is from other people’s mistakes, and I’ve seen many companies get hit with huge penalties because of their marketing activities over the past year.
Last year in particular has been a big year for the ACCC regarding misleading and deceptive conduct cases, as it has such a broad definition, it can be difficult for companies to spot when they are planning their marketing, advertising and sales.
Misleading and deceptive conduct is, generally, giving an “overall impression” that is misleading or deceptive. Always review your marketing activities by not only reading over all the text, but also taking a step back to look at the big picture.
- Packaging: Take the “Aussie Beer” case for example, where the green and gold in addition to the name of the brand suggested the beer was made in Australia when it was actually made in China. It is still misleading, despite fine print suggesting otherwise.
- Social Media: Testimonials & reviews can be considered misleading and deceptive if you remove negative reviews or if you have fake testimonials written. It can be a double-edged sword, so consider whether taking the social media route is the best way to market your business.
- Door to Door/Face to Face advertising: Energy companies were recently hit with penalties as employees used dishonest sales tactics, claiming potential customers had an “urgent problem”. Make sure you have clear policies or guidelines in place to ensure that employees do not use marketing tactics that could be misleading or deceptive!
- Promotions, offers & sales: Online retailer, Kogan was recently fined for allegedly increasing prices prior to offering a discount. This would mean the actual discounted amount is less than what is advertised and is therefore, misleading and deceptive. Be transparent when offering your discounts and sales, have the documentation to back up your offers and ensure that you are aware of any pricing changes that may have occurred beforehand so that you don’t get caught out.
I have worked with a number of businesses to provide advice, drafting of policies or training concerning their marketing activities. Feel free to contact me on or 1300 033 934 for a no-obligation chat to see how I can help you.