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Wealthy Health breaches consumer law by making an unsubstantiated claim

Online vitamin retailer Wealthy Health has admitted representations made regarding a product containing squalene sourced from sharks were likely “misleading” breaching consumer law.

Between February 2021 and October last year, Universal Pharmaceuticals – which owns the company – posted statements on the Wealthy Health website that its Organic Squalene 1000mg with Vitamin E product is “sustainably sourced from sharks from the crystal-clear oceans of Australia”.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission commissioner, Liza Carver, said the regulator was “concerned” that the company knew the product in question did not contain squalene “sourced exclusively” from Australian waters.

“Consumers are often willing to pay a premium for products that advertise they are made with Australian ingredients, and statements that mislead consumers about the origin of ingredients used may also result in consumers unfairly preferencing that product over other equivalent products in the market.”

She added these types of claims cannot be “independently verified” by consumers hence businesses must be “extremely careful” they do not mislead.

“Businesses must be able to substantiate their claims about the products and services they sell.

“It’s essential that consumers are able to have trust and confidence that the products they purchase are accurately represented,” said Carver.

ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Universal Pharmaceuticals not to make representations as such without proper evidence.

Following the undertaking, the company has agreed to publish a corrective advertisement for 90 days on the relevant product page.

Universal Pharmaceuticals has also refunded two customers who purchased the product and will provide consumer law training to its director and staff.

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