The Safety Warehouse warned about “The Drop” event
Published08 Sep 2021
Greenback Ecommerce Limited trading as The Safety Warehouse (TSW) has been warned by the Commerce Commission for engaging in conduct that it considers was liable to mislead and likely to have breached the Fair Trading Act in its promotion of “The Drop” event held in Aotea Square, Auckland, on 5 December 2020.
In the Commission’s view TSW’s promotion of the event on social media platforms and its website was liable to mislead consumers by creating the impression that $100,000 in cash would be given away at the event, when in fact only a total of $3,600 of money was given away.
TSW encouraged consumers to sign up to attend the free event by promoting “The Drop” using phrases such as, “THE DROP $100K CASH GIVEAWAY”, “We’re dropping $100,000 in value from the sky in Aotea Square at 12pm on Saturday the 5th. Yes, ACTUAL MONEY will be flying from the sky” and “The Drop – 100K Live Cash Giveaway – Auckland”.
Around 1,600 people attended “The Drop” event. The Commission spoke to people who went to the event who said they were disappointed to discover that most of what was being given away was vouchers in the form of lookalike $5 notes when, as a result of the advertising they viewed, they were under the impression that $100,000 cash would be given away.
Commerce Commission Chair Anna Rawlings said, “Businesses have a responsibility to be upfront and clear about what they’re offering – they must not tell half-truths or provide information that is liable to mislead consumers. They should think carefully about how consumers will interpret the claims they make and what consumers will likely understand about them – even when it is done as part of a one-off publicity event which is free to attend”.
The Commission is satisfied that this was a one-off event and TSW has confirmed it does not intend to run this type of event in the future.
A warning explains the Commission’s opinion that the conduct at issue is likely to have breached the law. It is not a finding of non-compliance – only the Courts can decide whether a breach of the law has occurred.
The purpose of a warning letter is to inform the recipient of the Commission’s view that there has likely been a breach of the law, to suggest a change in the recipient’s behaviour and to encourage future compliance with the law.
The relevant law
Section 11 of the Fair Trading Act prohibits conduct in trade liable to mislead the public as to the nature, characteristics, suitability for a purpose, or quantity of services.