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ACCC takes on online e-cig retailer

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched legal proceedings against online e-cigarette retailer, The Joystick Company, for allegedly making false or misleading claims that its products did not contain toxic chemicals found in regular cigarettes.

The ACCC said it had previously issued Joystick with three infringement notices as it had reasonable grounds to believe that the company had made a number of false or misleading representations. Joystick did not pay the penalties specified in the infringement notices within the specified payment period.

The proceedings were commenced after independent testing commissioned by the ACCC indicated that the Joystick’s e-cigarette product tested contained toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein.

ACCC commissioner, Sarah Court, said: “It is crucial that suppliers have scientific evidence to support claims that their products do not contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.”

“This is particularly important when, as here, products are designed to be inhaled and are being differentiated from conventional tobacco cigarettes because they are claimed not to contain toxic chemicals.

“This action against Joystick also reflects the ACCC’s policy that enforcement proceedings will be considered against businesses which do not pay the penalties specified in infringement notices within the payment period,” Ms Court said.

The ACCC has also alleged that the sole director of Joystick was knowingly concerned in the conduct.

The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, declarations, injunctions, orders for an ACL compliance program, publication orders and costs.

The proceedings against The Joystick Company follow the ACCC’s decision to commence proceedings against Social-Lites Pty Ltd and Elusion New Zealand Limited in June 2016, also for alleged breaches of the ACL.

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