What should happen to people making false COVID claims?

The Federal Court has ordered Lorna Jane, to pay $5 million in penalties for making false and misleading representations to consumers, and engaging in conduct liable to mislead the public, in connection with the promotion and supply of its “LJ Shield Activewear”.

Lorna Jane admitted that, between 2 and 23 July 2020, it falsely represented to consumers that its LJ Shield Activewear “eliminated”, “stopped the spread” and “protected wearers” against “viruses including COVID-19”.

The misleading representations were made on in-store signage, on its website, on Instagram, in emails to consumers and in media releases.

The claims made by Lorna Jane about its LJ Shield Activewear included “Cure for the Spread of COVID-19? Lorna Jane Thinks So” and “LJ SHIELD is a groundbreaking technology that makes transferal of all pathogens to your Activewear (and let’s face it, the one we’re all thinking about is Covid-19) impossible by eliminating the virus on contact with the fabric”.

“Lorna Jane falsely promoted its LJ Shield Activewear as eliminating or providing protection from COVID amidst growing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Australia,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“The whole marketing campaign was based upon consumers’ desire for greater protection against the global pandemic.

“The $5 million in penalties imposed by the court highlights the seriousness of Lorna Jane’s conduct, which the judge called ‘exploitative, predatory and potentially dangerous’,” Mr Sims said. 

Lorna Jane also admitted that it had falsely represented it had a scientific or technological basis for making the ‘anti-virus’ claims about its LJ Shield Activewear, when no such basis existed. The company admitted that it did not have any scientific testing results showing the effectiveness of LJ Shield Activewear on viruses, including COVID-19, nor did it have any scientific results or evidence which would establish the truth of the representations.

Lorna Jane also admitted that director and chief creative officer, Lorna Jane Clarkson, authorised and approved the LJ Shield Activewear promotional material, was involved in crafting the words and developing the imagery used in the marketing campaign, and personally made some of the false statements contained in a media release and an Instagram video.

The judge also said he had taken into account that ‘the conduct emanated from a high managerial level within the company’ and ‘was directed by Ms Clarkson’.

“This was dreadful conduct as it involved making serious claims regarding public health when there was no basis for them,” Mr Sims said.

“This type of conduct is particularly harmful where, as here, consumers cannot easily check or monitor the claims made.”

Do you think the $5m penalty was enough for this behaviour? Should false health claims be open to bigger penalties during a pandemic?


google seo

A man was going to the house of some rich person. As he went along the road, he saw a box of good apples at the side of the road. He said, "I do not want to eat those apples; for the rich man will give me much food; he will give me very nice food to eat." Then he took the apples and threw them away into the dust.
He went on and came to a river. The river had become very big; so he could not go over it. He waited for some time; then he said, "I cannot go to the rich man's house today, for I cannot get over the river."
He began to go home. He had eaten no food that day. He began to want food. He came to the apples, and he was glad to take them out of the dust and eat them.

No use fining an amount that the person or such can never afford to pay

Yes IMO there should be punishment for false claims

There is a world of difference between free speech and circulating outright untruths and I agree with the decision to fine $5M. I'm sure the courts took into consideration the ability to pay and the effect on the guilty party. I'd also like to see all of the anti-vaxxers being prosecuted under the same basis.

Totally agree Sue - and the outrageous protest marches at the weekend disgusting, with no thought

for the rest of communities.

And I agree - except that the fine was NOT high enough.

If someone deliberately leaves quarantine or lock down, and their actions directly leads to the death of someone, they should be charged with Manslaughter.

Hear hear Scuba.



In some cases a fine isn't enough but should attract a custodial sentence for the person in that company who was responsible for making the claim. Often. for the wealthy, the money is insignificant but a spell in prison scares the life out of them.

In terms of false claims should those companies, and private schools, who claimed Jobkeeper but in fact did not lose money but actually increased their profits but are refusing to return taxpayers money also be classed as making a false claim?



"In terms of false claims should those companies, and private schools, who claimed Jobkeeper but in fact did not lose money but actually increased their profits but are refusing to return taxpayers money also be classed as making a false claim?"

Yes or pay back the money - as other organisations did.

Absolutely KSS but some of the biggest transgressors, household names in fact, have point blank refused.

Unfortunately, companies may have expected to make the necessary drop in income and therefore were eligible to receive job keeper.  The problem was that few expected the changes in spending patterns that occurred and the consequent increase in sales that meant that these companies acted honestly in claiming job seeker but unfortunately there was nothing in the rules about repaying job seeker if it transpired that expected sales were greater than forecast.   Whilst morally a case could be made to ask those companies to repay the job seeker allowance that they received, legally there is no obligation to do so unless it can be proven that the companies knew that their sales would increase rather than decrease and that would be fraud.  I suspect that it would be particularly difficult to find such proof.



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