Australian activewear company Lorna Jane must pay $5 million in penalties for making false claims and misleading consumers regarding its ‘anti-virus’ LJ Shield Activewear, as ordered by the Federal Court on 23 July 2021.
What claims did Lorna Jane make?
Lorna Jane Pty Ltd (‘Lorna Jane’) claimed the LJ Shield mist sprayed on its activewear eliminated viruses on the fabric including COVID-19, and protected the wearer against bacteria, viruses, mould, and fungus. The LJ shield was described as a ‘cure for the spread of COVID-19’ and a ‘groundbreaking technology’ which stopped the transfer of infectious diseases.
What were the consequences of these claims?
On 17 July 2020, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (‘TGA’) fined Lorna Jane $39,960 in relation to the LJ Shield ‘anti-virus’ claims. Further proceedings were commenced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (‘ACCC’) on 21 December 2020 against Lorna Jane for breaching the Australian Consumer Law. This resulted in a $5 million fine for making false and misleading representations to consumers and engaging in conduct likely to mislead the public.
Lorna Jane accepted that it had breached the Australian Consumer Law by falsely representing across its in-store and online marketing campaign that LJ Shield Activewear eliminated and protected wearers against viruses including COVID-19. Moreover, Lorna Jane acknowledged that it had falsely represented a scientific or technological basis for the ‘anti-virus’ claims when these did not exist.
The legal battles of Lorna Jane regarding its ‘anti-virus’ activewear claims serve as an important reminder to retailers to ensure they are not making misleading representations or engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct under the Australian Consumer Law. Moving forward, retailers may wish to:
- Assess their marketing campaign and ensure that all claims are accurate and not misleading or deceptive.
- Review their website terms and conditions and other contracts to include disclaimer and limitation of liability clauses.
- Ensure that any influencer advertising is properly disclosed.
- Talk to a legal professional to ensure they understand their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.