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The ACCC institutes Federal Court proceedings against Reebok Australia for alleged false and misleading advertising

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have instituted proceedings against Reebok Australia Pty Limited (Reebok Australia) alleging contravention of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The alleged conduct relates to Reebok Australia’s promotion of its EasyTone shoes since September 2011.

The ACCC alleges that from September 2011 Reebok Australia made false, misleading or deceptive representations about the strength and muscle tone benefits associated with wearing EasyTone shoes as compared to a traditional walking shoe. The ACCC also alleges that Reebok Australia had no reasonable grounds for making these representations.

While Reebok Australia has imported and sold EasyTone shoes in Australia since December 2009, the proceedings only relate to conduct since September 2011. The ACCC alleges that from that date Reebok Australia was aware of enforcement action taken by the US Federal Trade Commission against Reebok International Ltd in relation to similar representations about EasyTone shoes.

The ACCC is seeking a range of remedies, including pecuniary penalties, declarations, injunctions, orders for corrective notices, non-party consumer redress and costs. They are also seeking an order for Reebok Australia to establish and implement an ACL compliance program. The proceedings are a timely reminder of the risks for businesses that ACL non-compliance brings.