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"Pureit" water filters not so pure

"Pureit" water filters not so pure:Giardia and Cryptosporidium pass through filter

Media Release 1999/84

The importer of “Pureit” water filters, Beasam Holdings Limited, has admitted that its advertising included incorrect statements and was liable to be misleading because the filters do not remove Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Giardia and Cryptosporidium are two of the most common water-borne organisms in New Zealand.

Commerce Commission Fair Trading Manager Rachel Leamy said that the Commission has ended its investigation and accepted a settlement with Beasam.

Signed undertakings in the settlement include Beasam correcting all its advertising and promotional literature, admitting that it risked breaching the Fair Trading Act, and acknowledging that the Commission can take court action if the settlement is not honoured.

Beasam’s advertising incorrectly stated that: “Pureit purifies, actually removing disease carrying bacteria and viruses to deliver safe clean great tasting water”. It also incorrectly described “Pureit” filters as: “Microbiologically safe”.

Ms Leamy said that this case highlights an important issue for all advertisers: “Leaving out important information can be misleading or deceptive.

“By not stating that ‘Pureit’ does not filter out Giardia and Cryptosporidium, Beasam’s ads were liable to be misleading.

“In effect, important conditions were left out, and this can apply to any goods or services. All important conditions must be accurately and clearly explained in advertising.

“If the style of advertising does not allow that, then the style should be changed. If the style cannot be changed and still get the message across, then some hard questions have to be asked about the message.

“How accurately does it describe the goods or services offered? Is it at risk of misleading consumers?”

Some examples of other cases involving non-disclosure or inadequate disclosure of important conditions include:

· Courts fined the director of a finance company $20,000 for disclosing only his own fees, but not disclosing that if a loan came from a particular institution considerable additional fees would have to be paid.
· Courts fined a home security firm $10,000 for describing how security guards would respond, but not disclosing that some areas were not covered by security guards.
· In a settlement, a food manufacturer changed its advertising and published full-page corrective advertisements to explain the conditions under which its product may help lower cholesterol.
· Courts fined an airline $8,000 for not disclosing that advertised prices were twin share only. That is, a customer could not buy a ticket at the advertised price, but would have to buy two tickets at twice the advertised price.

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