Personal mobile alarm company Flight Plan Digital Pty Ltd, trading as Live Life Alarms, has paid penalties of $25,200 after the ACCC issued two infringement notices for alleged false or misleading representations made on its website in relation to a testimonial and its ‘14 day money back guarantee’.
Live Life Alarms is an online seller of personal ‘SOS’ alarms which are typically used by the elderly and people with disabilities to contact friends, family or emergency services if they require urgent assistance.
The ACCC alleges that, in January 2020, Live Life Alarms published a testimonial on its website and represented that it was from a customer of Live Life Alarms when, in fact, the testimonial related to a competitor’s product.
“One of the ACCC’s infringement notices related to the publication of a fake testimonial on Live Life Alarms website. This alleged conduct was of particular concern to the ACCC as it may have influenced potentially vulnerable consumers to purchase a personal alarm from Live Life Alarms,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
Live Life Alarms also allegedly made false or misleading representations on its website that customers who exercised their rights under its ’14 day money back guarantee’ would be refunded the full purchase price of the alarm.
These representations were conveyed by the following statements online: ‘Satisfaction guaranteed. Our system comes with a 14 day money back guarantee’; and ‘If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase we will give you a 14 day money-back guarantee from the time you receive the goods.’
The ACCC alleges that when providing refunds to customers who were not satisfied with the product, Life Live Alarms deducted $95 from the purchase price of $497 for postage and packing, credit card transaction fees and other set-up costs and fees; and as a result deducted almost 20 per cent of the original purchase price from the amount refunded.
“The penalties paid by Live Life Alarms should serve as a warning to businesses that it is unacceptable to mislead consumers about purported testimonials or reviews of their business, or to make false promises about money back guarantees,” Ms Court said.
Live Life Alarms no longer deducts any amount when providing refunds under its refund policy, and it has removed the testimonial from its website.
The payment of a penalty specified in an infringement notice is not an admission of a contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.
The ACCC can issue an infringement notice when it has reasonable grounds to believe a person or business has contravened certain consumer protection laws.