Brilliance International fined $540k over steel mesh representations
By Paul McBeth
Aug. 17 (BusinessDesk) - Brilliance International has been fined $540,000 after pleading guilty to breaking fair trading law by claiming steel mesh met standards that it actually did not.
In the Auckland District Court yesterday, Judge Robert Ronayne sentenced the company on 20 charges brought by the Commerce Commission under the Fair Trading Act. They related to 35 batches of steel mesh, or 56,125 sheets.
“The safety and durability of New Zealand’s buildings depend on them being constructed with materials that comply with the relevant standards," commission chair Mark Berry said in a statement. "False and misleading representations about building products are a priority for the Commission because compliance with standards is critical to both public confidence and safety."
Auckland-based Brilliance was among a number of companies caught in the regulator's probe into steel mesh, including NZX-listed Steel & Tube Holdings, which has also pleaded guilty but is to be sentenced.
Earlier this year, Timber King and NZ Steel Distributor were ordered to pay $401,000 after pleading guilty to seven charges brought by the regulator. Euro Corporation has said it will "vigorously defend" 59 charges it faces. Fletcher Steel received a warning from the Commission.
Judge Ronayne said Brilliance's representations undermined the Fair Trading Act and the standard's objective by enabling the firm to enjoy "sales benefits flowing from apparent standard compliance without in fact complying".
Still, the judge discounted the fine for Brillance's cooperation and early guilty plea.