Competition Bureau Requires Maker of Nivea to Correct Inaccurate Public Statements Related to Nivea Consent Agreement
Ottawa, September 22, 2011 — The Competition Bureau announced today that it has required Beiersdorf Canada Inc. to correct an inaccurate public statement made by the company related to a recent settlement reached with the Bureau.
A settlement was originally announced on September 7, 2011 with Beiersdorf, Nivea's Canadian distributor, to stop making what the Bureau concluded were false or misleading claims about its "My Silhouette" product. The claims suggested, among other things, that regular use of the product slims and reshapes the body, causing a reduction of up to three centimetres on targeted areas.
Among other things, the Bureau concluded that Beiersdorf had made performance claims about My Silhouette to the public that were not based on adequate and proper testing, contrary to the false and misleading representation provisions of the Competition Act. As part of the Consent Agreement, Beiersdorf agreed that it does not contest this conclusion. However, in statements made to the media, in a news release, and on the Nivea.ca Web site, Beiersdorf stated that "performance claims and testing related to Nivea 'My Silhouette' are supported by independent research, which has always complied with Canadian requirements and guidelines".
Beiersdorf Canada Inc. is required to take immediate action to ensure compliance with the Consent Agreement to ensure that no future violations occur," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "
The Bureau has advised Beiersdorf that it is required to adhere to the letter and spirit of the commitments it made in the Consent Agreement and any efforts to avoid those commitments will not be tolerated."
Beiersdorf agreed to remove the offending statement. However, the Bureau will continue to monitor compliance with the agreement. Should any further violations of the consent agreement occur, the Bureau will take further enforcement action as warranted.
Under the terms of the consent agreement, Beiersdorf was required to refund the purchase price and shipping costs to Canadian customers, to immediately remove the products from Canadian shelves and to pay an administrative monetary penalty of $300,000. Beiersdorf was also required to publish a corrective notice on Nivea's Canadian Web site and in major Canadian newspapers, and to pay $80,000 to cover costs associated with the Bureau's investigation.
For more information about the consent agreement, please consult the news release.
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
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