Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How much would you pay for water?

Big Blue fined $25,000 for deceiving customers 
4:00AM Wednesday Jan 14, 2009
By Maria Slade:  New Zealand Herald.

A water company caught making bogus claims about its products will suffer more in damage to its brand than it will from the fine imposed, the Commerce Commission says.

Big Blue Ltd has been fined $25,000 in the Auckland District Court for breaching the Fair Trading Act in its marketing of what was basically purified tap water.

The water cooler and bottled water company claimed the processing of its Energised Distilled Water and Energised Mineral Water "neutralises the harm caused by toxins through re-programming the water's polarity and restoring it to its 'primordial' or natural state.

"This natural state provides beneficial health-giving frequencies."

It also claimed the Energised Mineral Water was "100 per cent Pure New Zealand Mineral Water". But testing showed it was tap water that had been demineralised and then had artificial minerals from South Korea added to it.

Commerce Commission director of fair trading Adrian Sparrow said the water didn't even properly pass through the "Wasser 2000 Vibration Technology" that was supposed to provide the benefits.

"Even if it had ... there was no evidence it would have produced the effects that were being claimed."

He said such "pseudo-scientific" claims were deceitful, particularly as consumers had no way of verifying them.

The commission was also disappointed that Big Blue had taken six months to completely remove the misleading labelling from the market.

Mr Sparrow said the company had tried to place a premium on its product, and as economic hard times hit it was tempting for companies to push their luck.

But he pointed out the image damage that water company Evian had suffered after a contamination scandal in Europe a few years ago.

In the Big Blue case the water was safe, but consumers had long memories, he said.

"The brand damage is going to be quite significant, I think."

It's not the first prosecution in this country for false claims over water.

In 2005 Ecoworld NZ Ltd was fined $60,000 and ordered to pay a further $68,000 in compensation to consumers after it misled people over a water treatment system.

Hamilton District Court Judge Merilena Burnett described the promotional material for the Living Water units as "quackery".


I wrote this article two years ago and receive good reviews and high ratings. I don't believe in drinking bottled water. The New Zealand is very clean and good to drink.

No comments: