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EasyMeals admits misleading consumers

Online food retailer EasyMeals by Flavour Makers has admitted misleading customers with its claims that its meals were suitable for all diabetics and with its free meal offers.

The suitability of the meals for diabetics actually depends upon the individual diabetic, their diet, and the severity of their condition.

And concerning the free meal offers, the company misled consumers into believing they could get a free meal simply by providing their contact information, when consumers could only obtain a free meal if they purchased a meal from the company first.

In addition, EasyMeals admitted that it failed to provide customers who had received unsolicited telemarketing calls with the information required by the unsolicited consumer agreements provisions of the ACL.

The admissions follow an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from Anglicare Northern Territory, on behalf of a newly arrived migrant who was not fluent in English. The consumer had received telemarketing calls from EasyMeals, during which the company represented that its meals would be suitable for the consumer’s diabetes.

Following ACCC engagement, EasyMeals refunded the consumer; undertook an internal investigation aimed at implementing corrective measures; cooperated with the ACCC’s investigation; and agreed to rectify its practices to ensure future compliance with the ACL.

EasyMeals also offered a court enforceable undertaking to the ACCC.  The undertaking prohibits EasyMeals from engaging in similar conduct for a period of three years, and requires EasyMeals to implement and regularly review an ACL compliance program. The undertaking also requires EasyMeals to place a corrective notice on its website for a period of 60 days.

“Businesses supplying food products must take particular care to ensure that they do not misrepresent the suitability of their products for consumers with particular health conditions, such as diabetes or allergies,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“False or misleading representations of this type can have serious consequences for consumers with these conditions who rely on the representations.”

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