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Alpaca, cashmere claims see $194,000 fines

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/05/2017

The fines are continuing to mount against companies making claims about the authenticity of alpaca, merino wool and cashmere duvets and rugs.

In the latest decision, Princess Wool Co Limited and two men were found guilty in the Auckland District Court of claiming duvets were "pure alpaca wool" or "100 per cent cashmere" and fined nearly $194,000.

In fact, independent testing showed the duvets contained no more than 17 per cent alpaca wool - the rest being sheep wool - and no cashmere at all.

The company was found guilty on 14 charges and fined $159,000, while manager Kevin Stocker was fined $20,187 and director Koo Yoarn Lee $14,750 on six charges each.

That decision brings the total fines in New Zealand since 2013 for this type of offending to $1.5 million.

It reflects badly on New Zealand's reputation when tourists or members of the New Zealand public look to buy these products, says Antonia Horrocks, the Commerce Commission's general manager, competition.

"Consumers buy goods like alpaca duvets on trust, because they cannot themselves verify the accuracy of product claims," she said.

"Ensuring that traders don't mislead consumers over such claims is a priority for the commission."

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