Reebok to pay $350,000 for false and misleading representations

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 23 October 2014

Reebok Australia has been ordered to pay a $350,00 penalty for making false and misleading representations about the benefits of its EasyTone shoes.

In proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Reebok's shoe boxes, swing tags, information cards and in-store promotional material suggesting if a person walked in the shoes it would increase the muscle tone of their claves, thighs and buttocks more than traditional shoes were found to be false and misleading.

In addition the court found that there were no reasonable grounds for making the claims.

“Where businesses claim their products have certain performance characteristics and benefits, they have a responsibility to ensure that those claims are accurate and supported by credible evidence. This is particularly important in cases such as this where it is difficult for consumers to independently verify the claims,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

The Federal Court has also made Reebok provide a refund of $35 per pair to consumers who purchased the shoes during the time of the promotional materials and believe they suffered loss or damage as a result of the advertising claims. While EasyTone shoes have been imported and sold in Asutralian since December 2009, the ACCCs case was for the promotion of the shoes between September 2011 and Feburary 2013.

During this time the shoes were subject of enforcement action taken by US Federal Trade Commission. Ms Rickard said it was “of particular concern” to the ACCC that the shoes were continued to be sold in Australia despite coming to the attention of overseas regulators.

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