The Australian Federal Court has found health and safety products company, Safety Compliance, guilty of making false and misleading representations and of making false and of engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct in its dealings with Australian small businesses.
Federal Court found that Safety Compliance had falsely claimed, when selling its health and safety products, that Australian law required small businesses to have safety wall charts and first aid kits of the kind sold by the company.
The Court also found that the company had falsely claimed to be a state or territory government workplace health and safety agency, or that it was affiliated with one.
Three people involved with the company – Dean King, Shane Black and Fiona Schimmel – were found guilty of the above offences.
The Court also found that Safety Compliance had contacted franchisees and falsely claimed to them that the franchisor had agreed to purchase the company’s health and safety products.
Safety Compliance was founded guilty of violating Australian Consumer Law and the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act 1974 (now Competition and Consumer Act 2010).
“This is an important outcome, as small businesses operators generally take their health and safety obligations very seriously but can often be time poor and susceptible to telemarketers promoting products relating to workplace health and safety,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
“In these circumstances, it is important that small businesses can rely on the accuracy of claims made by telemarketers and others about their compliance products.”
A later hearing will be held to determine the compensation relief which will be ordered by the Court.
Safety Compliance went into liquidation in September 2012.