...on the last day of September, I lodged a complaint with the ACCC concerning regulation 256 of the NSW Road Rules, the mandatory bicycle helmet standard, and accompanying product material in licences, print advertisements, helmet promotion campaigns, legislation and online material (collectively, the promotion) produced by SAI Global, Standards Australia and the NSW Government.
I set out for them in letter format that I believe the promotion displayed in Australia from the early 1990s to today has predicted safety benefits of the helmet device whilst having no proof that such benefits could be attained. Consequently, I continued, I believe that the promotion is an example of ‘safety washing’ akin to the notion of ‘green washing’ despite the very broad and general prohibition of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act) to engage in misleading or deceptive conduct. I contended that upon the facts I feel that SAI Global, Standards Australia and the NSW Government have breached the Act by:
• engaging in conduct that is likely to mislead or deceive; • engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct; • making false or misleading representations that goods are of a particular standard, quality, value or grade; and • making false or misleading representations that goods have performance characteristics, uses or benefits.
Supposedly, within the Act, the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) has been structured to uphold our rights to receive accurate and truthful messages about the goods and services that we buy. As ‘persons’ engaging in conduct, occurring ‘in trade or commerce’ , demonstrating conduct that is misleading or likely to mislead, SAI Global, Standards Australia and the NSW Government have contravened s18(1) of the ACL.
As far as I can make out upon my reading of the Act, it makes no difference whether SAI Global, Standards Australia and the NSW Government intended to mislead or deceive consumers but rather how the conduct of their business practices affected our thoughts and beliefs. The overall impression left by their promotion of safety accorded by bicycle helmets has created a misleading impression in people’s minds. I continued with my contention that Australian consumers, including myself, are vulnerable to SAI Global, Standards Australia and the NSW Government’s promotion, particularly with regard to comprehending the need for and receiving claimed protection.
The ACCC have written back to me to say:
'...thanks but no thanks & BTW we've popped it on our confidential data-base.'
Currently, I contend that I feel empty, disillusioned, & very bored with Australia