Online food retailer EasyMeals by Flavour Makers Pty Ltd has provided a court enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to its conduct in the marketing and supply of its pre-packaged meals.
EasyMeals has admitted it contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by:
- representing that EasyMeals’ meals were suitable for all diabetics, when in fact, the suitability of the meals for diabetics depends upon the individual diabetic, their diet, and the severity of their condition;
- making false or misleading representations that consumers could get a free meal simply by providing their contact information, when consumers could only obtain a free meal if they purchased a meal from EasyMeals first; and
- failing to provide customers who had received unsolicited telemarketing calls with the information required by the unsolicited consumer agreements provisions of the ACL.
The ACCC’s investigation was prompted by a complaint from Anglicare Northern Territory, on behalf of a newly arrived migrant who was not fluent in English. The consumer had received telemarketing calls from EasyMeals, during which EasyMeals represented that its meals would be suitable for the consumer’s diabetes.
Following ACCC engagement, EasyMeals refunded the consumer; undertook an internal investigation aimed at implementing corrective measures; cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation; and agreed to rectify its practices to ensure future compliance with the ACL.
EasyMeals also offered a court enforceable undertaking to the ACCC. The undertaking prohibits EasyMeals from engaging in similar conduct for a period of three years, and requires EasyMeals to implement and regularly review an ACL compliance program. The undertaking also requires EasyMeals to place a corrective notice on its website for a period of 60 days.
“Businesses supplying food products must take particular care to ensure that they do not misrepresent the suitability of their products for consumers with particular health conditions, such as diabetes or allergies,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“False or misleading representations of this type can have serious consequences for consumers with these conditions who rely on the representations”.
“Businesses must ensure that they have robust compliance procedures in place to prevent breaches of the ACL, such as false or misleading representations regarding their products or failing to comply with the unsolicited consumer agreement provisions,” Ms Rickard said.
“Consumer protection issues effecting on vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers, with a particular focus on consumers who are newly arrived in Australia, is a current enforcement and compliance priority for the ACCC.”
The undertaking is available at: Easy Meals by Flavour Makers Pty Ltd