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Brand Developers fined $153k

TV direct sales company Brand Developers has been found guilty of five charges in the Auckland District Court.

Chelsea Armitage
Tue, 27 Oct 2015

Brand Developers has been found guilty of five charges of overstating the weight limit of its Transforma ladders and selling them in breach of an Unsafe Goods Notice.

The Commerce Commission (ComCom) says Brand Developers has been fined $153,000 by the Auckland District Court for falsely advertising that its product had a certified load rating of 180kg.

The television direct sales company, also known as TV Shop, introduced the multipurpose Transforma ladders to the market, saying they had a load rating of 120kg. In 2010, the label was changed to read 180kg but the ladders were not tested to prove they lived up to the claims.

Brand Developers was issued with an Unsafe Goods Notice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in 2012 but continued to sell the untested product with the overstated weight limit.

Nearly 8000 ladders were sold through infomercials and suppliers and were purported to meet New Zealand safety standards for portable ladders. Commissioner Anna Rawlings says the company’s conduct put the safety of consumers at risk.

“The 180kg load rating provided a point of difference in advertising the ladders but Brand Developers did not carry out the required testing to ensure the ladders were safe to use at that weight. And they weren’t,” she says.

The ComCom tested the ladders in early 2013 and both models failed to meet the standard but the testing was stopped when a ladder became malformed under the weight of 180kg.

Consumers who bought ladders directly from the company before January 2014 have been offered a refund and notified of a downgrade in the Transforma ladder’s weight rating to 120kg.

“It is important that consumers can rely on the information they are provided about the safe use of products that they buy, and an Unsafe Goods Notice is intended to protect New Zealanders from harm. The fine in this case demonstrates that traders can expect significant penalties if they do not take product safety seriously,” Ms Rawlings said.

Sales of the ladders have been prohibited indefinitely after a notice from the Minister of Consumer Affairs Paul Goldsmith.

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Chelsea Armitage
Tue, 27 Oct 2015
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Brand Developers fined $153k
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