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Ezibuy Fined For 'Pashmina' Shawls That Were Poly/Cotton

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

4 September 2008 - A popular clothing and home goods company has been found guilty of breaching the Fair Trading Act and has been fined $8,500 in the Auckland District Court for marketing and selling shawls advertised as silk blend pashmina, when they were not.

Between February 2007 and November 2007 Ezibuy sold the shawls with labels describing the product as a 'pashmina' with '70% pashmina and 30% silk'. Independent tests undertaken as part of the Commerce Commission's investigation showed that the shawl was actually made of cotton and polyester, with no pashmina or silk content.

Pashmina is a premium product and shawls made from 100% pashmina can sell for up to NZD$425. Ezibuy retailed their 'pashmina' shawls for $19.95 and sold over 11,000 falsely labelled shawls in Australia and New Zealand. Of those 3,870 were sold in New Zealand.

The Commerce Commission's Director, Fair Trading, Adrian Sparrow said, "The marketing and labelling of the shawls would have led consumers to believe that they were getting a good deal with a quality product at a bargain price, when they were being misled about the true nature of the material."

Last year the Commission reached an out of court settlement with Ezibuy over mohair throws which Ezibuy advertised as 'pure mohair' when they were acrylic/mohair blend.

Mr Sparrow said, "The Commission expects businesses to put into place proper compliance processes to check that the labelling and marketing of their stock is accurate. Consumers rightly rely on the information supplied by business to make their purchasing decisions and the onus is on business to ensure that the information supplied is accurate." "It is the responsibility of businesses to ensure that the labelling on their products is accurate and, if necessary, to undertake testing to assure themselves that labels and descriptions supplied by manufacturers are correct."

"Many consumers buy their goods from Ezibuy either by mail order or via Ezibuy's website and so do not have the opportunity to inspect products before they are purchased. They are completely reliant on the accuracy of the descriptions in the catalogue and on the website," said Mr Sparrow.

"Inaccurate labelling also harms other retailers. They are disadvantaged when their products are undercut by traders selling falsely labelled product purporting to be the genuine item."

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