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Online seller referred to ACCC over counterfeit goods

An Australian company has been referred to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for offering boots manufactured in China as Australian made.

The company involved reportedly cloned the website of a local manufacturer of genuine Australian sheepskin footwear and created more than 30 websites offering boots, which they claimed were made in a Melbourne factory with genuine Australian sheepskin.

They further claimed to be licensed to carry the Australian Made logo and to be members of the Australian Sheepskin Association.

However, customers who purchased boots via the websites said they arrived from a Chinese address bearing ‘Made in China’ tags. The boots were made from cowhide and synthetic materials.

The Australian Made Campaign (AMCL) has referred the websites to the ACCC.

AMCL deputy chief executive Ben Lazzaro said Australia’s reputation for quality makes it a target for copycat manufacturers and frauds.

“We condemn the use of country of origin claims that are intended to mislead and confuse consumers, particularly when those claims involve unauthorised use of the Australian Made logo,” he said.

AMCL submitted digital trademark infringement notices to the hosting companies of the websites, resulting in the removal of the Australian Made logo from many of the sites.

Further legal action may result in the websites being taken down completely in coming days.

AMCL will continue to work with key industry bodies such as the Australian Sheepskin Association (ASA) to enforce clear and accurate country-of-origin branding across the industry.

It urges shoppers impacted by the counterfeit websites to report their experience to the ACCC and contact their bank or Paypal to request a reversal of funds.

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