The Commission has produced new video guidance for traders on false, misleading and unsubstantiated representations and how to avoid making them.

The video is called ‘If you can’t back it up, don’t say it’, and it is intended to help traders avoid making claims that will land them in the courts.

“Consumers must rely on what the trader says when it comes to product composition, or claims such as ‘organic’, ‘free range’ and ‘Made in NZ’. Traders have to be able to back up such claims, so the key message of the new video is ‘if you can’t back it up, don’t say it’”, said Commissioner Anna Rawlings.

“Every day consumers are hit with countless claims like ‘Made in NZ’, ‘free range’ or ‘organic’ and asked to take them at face value, because they have no way to verify that sort of claim,” said Commissioner Anna Rawlings.

“If those claims are misleading, they are harmful to consumers because consumers may pay a price premium for characteristics of a product that do not exist. They’re also harmful to competition because they give an unfair advantage to dishonest traders.  Finally, they can have an impact on New Zealand’s reputation with tourists and in export markets,” she said.

The new video was featured at an event jointly run by the Commission and the Advertising Standards Authority 14 March at Auckland’s Cordis Hotel.

Nearly 200 people attended the ‘Can you back it up – Consumer confidence in advertising’ event, with a mix of advertisers, agencies and media organisations represented.

Antonia Horrocks, General Manager Competition and Consumer, and Stuart Wallace, Consumer Manager, spoke at the event alongside ASA Chief Executive Hilary Souter and Claire Hofer, the ASA’s Education and Development Manager.

By late March the video had been viewed around 2400 times on the Commission’s YouTube channel and in a short version distributed on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.