- ACCC Ends Round of CHOICE Investigations
- Our “ eyes and ears ” in the community were crucial in closing the case
- Mosaic agrees to contact affected customers and provide refunds
Following a CHOICE complaint filed with the ACCC in March of last year, fashion retail group Mosaic Brands had to pay $ 630,000 in fines issued by the regulator for promoting “ essential health products ” linked to the pandemic that would have offered little protection against COVID-19.
In total, the company has been slapped with five notices of violation from the ACCC for false or misleading claims regarding hand sanitizers and face masks.
Mosaic, whose brands include Noni B, Autograph, BeMe, Crossroads, Katies, Millers, Rivers, Rockmans, and W. Lane, operates approximately 1,210 stores nationwide.
CHOICE called Mosaic in several ways as the country entered COVID lockdown in 2020, including its panic marketing tactics and non-delivery of goods.
CHOICE tests funded by supporters
We also ordered tests on a bottle of hand sanitizer sold by Mosaic labeled 70% alcohol which was found to be only 23%.
Thanks to donations from hundreds of supporters, we then ordered additional testing of 29 hand sanitizers.
Throughout our ongoing hand sanitizer investigations last year, community denunciations have been crucial
One of them, White Knight Hand Sanitiser 500ml, did not meet the 60% threshold, although the product label says 70% or 75% alcohol.
Throughout our ongoing hand sanitizer investigations last year, community denunciations have been crucial.
In November 2020, the government passed new hand sanitizer regulations that require consistent labeling that clearly indicates how much alcohol a hand sanitizer product contains.
ACCC tests detect more failures
The ACCC conducted its own series of Mosaic Brands tests and found the following:
- A sample of Air Clean hand sanitizer sold on the NoniB website labeled 70% alcohol contained 17% alcohol.
- A sample of Miaoyue hand sanitizer sold by Millers labeled 75% contained 58% alcohol.
- Velcare brand hand sanitizer advertised as “WHO Approved” was not.
- The KN95 child safety masks sold on its websites advertised as “CE / FDA certified” were not.
- The KN95 adult masks have been advertised as “non-refundable” when consumers are entitled to a refund under Australian Consumer Law.
Deceive during the pandemic
“Companies should never mislead their customers about the certification, quality or properties of their products, but we were particularly concerned about Mosaic Brands’ claims because the claims Mosaic Brands admitted were false or misleading relating to certain protective properties of health in the days of a global pandemic, ”says ACCC Vice President Delia Rickard.
“This ACCC action was only made possible through the work of the CHOICE community,” says Dean Price, CHOICE Campaign Manager.
Companies should never mislead their customers about the certification, quality or properties of their products.
ACCC Vice-President Delia Rickard
“CHOICE lobbied for hand sanitizer regulations last year and the Australian government implemented them,” says Price. “These new regulations will make it harder for businesses to repeat Mosaic Brands’ mistakes.”
At the request of ACCC, Mosaic Brands has agreed to contact customers within the next three months who have purchased any of the identified items and provide refunds. Mosaic has also committed to post more information on how to request a refund on its websites.