New Zealand Law Society - Director fined for claiming generic cladding was premium brand

Director fined for claiming generic cladding was premium brand

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The former director of Supercrete Auckland Ltd (Supercrete) has been fined $37,500 for misrepresenting generic Chinese cladding as the premium Australian-made Hebel brand.  

Supercrete was removed from the register of companies in August 2016.

Christopher Middleditch earlier pleaded guilty to three charges under the Fair Trading Act for making false or misleading representations between July 2012 and April 2013. During this period he told two customers the autoclaved aerated concrete cladding panels (AAC panels) Supercrete was supplying were Hebel from Australia. Mr Middleditch knew they had been imported from China.

“Mr Middleditch traded off Hebel’s premium brand name while knowingly supplying generic substitutes. This gave him a financial advantage over his competitors. The Commission prioritises appropriate cases involving building materials because of the significant harm they can cause consumers,” says Commissioner Anna Rawlings.

In sentencing Mr Middleditch at the Auckland District Court, Judge Dawson noted that the offending was in the medium to high bracket.  

The case is part of the Commission’s prosecution of four individuals associated with the former Cavan Forde Group (CFG) of companies. The case alleges the four misrepresented AAC products as Hebel products between the period of July 2007 and June 2013.

Former owner and director of now-defunct Christchurch Lightweight Concrete Ltd, Darryl Campbell, was fined $151,875 in October 2017 for his role in the conduct. The remaining two defendants, Dunedin-based father and son Cavan Forde and Martin Forde have entered not guilty pleas. A trial date is yet to be set for the pair.