Following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Federal Court ordered Kimberly-Clark to pay a $ 200,000 fine for online use of the ‘Made in Australia’ logo.
Kimberly-Clark Australia used the static website footer mark on its websites for the products and others in the Kleenex Cottonelle range and accepted that its use was false or misleading because the washable wipes were foreign made.
The physical packaging of the product contained the correct information that the products were imported.
“The contraventions occurred as part of a desire to promote KCA’s Australian made Kleenex Cottonelle toilet paper products without considering that the representations would appear in such a way that it would indicate that all products promoted on the Kleenex Cottonelle website were made in Australia,” Federal Court Justice Wendy Abraham said on Tuesday.
“I accept that the contraventions occurred by oversight, that the situation was remedied when brought to KCA’s attention and it cooperated with ACCC at an early stage.”
According to 9News, a spokesperson for the company said the claim came as a result of a web publishing error, and not an intentional marketing strategy.
“All Kleenex Flushable Cleansing Cloths packaging and advertising have always accurately stated where the product is made,” a spokesperson for Kimberley-Clark said. “The Made in Australia website logo was intended only for our Kleenex toilet paper products which are made in Millicent, South Australia.”
“This was an unintentional web publishing error displayed in a static footer of the Kleenex Cottonelle brand website between October 2015 and February 2016, and it was removed as soon as it was brought to our attention.”
The trial ended the five-year legal battle between the ACCC and Kimberly-Clark over their washable wipes. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s claim that wipes were not suitable for washing because they caused damage to the sewer was dismissed by the Federal Court in 2019.
A later appeal, claiming that the wipes “represented” a risk of damage, was also rejected.