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Commission stops water filter firm making false claims

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, April 26 NZPA - The Commerce Commission has gone to court to stop companies selling water filters door-to-door making false claims, including that tap water is dangerous and contains sewage.

Three companies involved in selling Love Springs branded water filters have been restrained by an interim injunction obtained by the commission in the Auckland High Court last Thursday.

The injunction prevents the companies, and any individual acting on behalf of them, from making false or misleading representations to consumers under the Fair Trading Act.

These include that tap, or bottled water is poisonous, dangerous, sourced from sewage, contains sewage, or is sourced from toilets.

The companies are also not allowed to claim that tap, or bottled water causes cancer, leukaemia, miscarriages, deformities in babies, asthma, or other health problems, is kept standing for weeks or months before being provided, is of a quality or grade other than that determined by the Ministry of Health, contains giardia, or is in any way unsafe or unhealthy to drink.

The injunction also prevents representations being made that the Love Springs filter would offer health benefits that it does not, such as improving asthma.

The injunction is against Auckland-based companies Love Springs Ltd and Tiny Terms Ltd and Palmerston North-based Successcorp Ltd.

The companies can continue to promote and market water filters but must not make false claims.

Love Springs featured in a TV3 news story earlier this month. A woman said she was told Porirua water came from recycled sewage water and wasn't safe to drink. She made an initial payment of $29.95 for a filter system that costs $1500.

Porirua Mayor Jenny Brash was outraged at the false claims and said Porirua was proud of the quality of its water.

The water in Porirua is supplied by the Greater Wellington Regional Council. It comes from the Kaitoke weir, not a sewer.

Love Springs was fined last year for breaching Queensland law. Residents in Ipswich were told they could develop cancer from drinking unfiltered water.

In New Zealand, companies found guilty of breaching provisions of the Fair Trading Act may be fined up to $200,000 and individuals up to $60,000. Only the courts can decide if a representation has breached the Fair Trading Act.

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