New Zealand Law Society - Commission charges water filter company over water softening claims

Commission charges water filter company over water softening claims

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HRV Clean Water Ltd (HRV) has pleaded guilty to 11 charges laid by the Commerce Commission for the unsubstantiated (unproven) or misleading claims it made about the benefits of its water filters and about the quality of New Zealand’s domestic water supply.

The Commission says the charges have been laid in the Auckland District Court under the Fair Trading Act. By law, a business must have reasonable grounds for making a claim at the time it is made. The charges relate to claims HRV made between 2 July 2014 and 12 October 2017 on its website, in promotional materials and to customers and the public at presentations.

The Commission charges are that HRV made unsubstantiated claims about the ability of its water filter systems to soften water; the benefits consumers could expect of soft water after using the water filters, and the water filters’ ability to reduce skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis.

The other Commission charges are that HRV made misleading representations about the levels of chemicals and additives in New Zealand’s domestic water supply, and the need for consumers to buy a water filter to address this.

A sentencing date has been set for 14 September 2018.

Hard water versus soft water

Hard water is the term used to describe water containing high levels of minerals. When water contains high levels of minerals, it tends to deposit these minerals on to surface. Hard water can also make soap form a scum on surfaces. Conventional methods of treating hard water (reverse osmosis and ion exchange) involve removing the minerals from water which cause it to be hard. The result is soft water which does not cause scale or scum build up.

HRV was incorporated in 2011 and is owned by E-Co Products Group Ltd. The brand is a well-known New Zealand company that sells home environment products, most notably ventilation and heating systems.