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'Predatory' Firm Fined for Making False Claims About Anti-COVID Clothes

As cases rose in Australia, Lorna Jane started advertising 'anti-virus activewear'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2021 11:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – An Australian clothing company accused of exploiting public fears about COVID-19 by making false claims about its activewear has agreed to pay a $3.7 million fine. As a second wave of infections hit Australia last summer, Lorna Jane started selling what it called "anti-virus activewear," the Washington Post reports. Ads claimed the activewear was treated with a spray that stopped transferal of all pathogens" and could "cure the spread of COVID-19." "With Lorna Jane Shield on our garments it meant that we were completely eliminating the possibility of spreading any deadly viruses," one ad claimed. In a ruling Friday, a judge called the claims "exploitative, predatory, and potentially dangerous," reports the BBC.

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Judge Darryl Rangian said the company, which admitted there was no scientific or technological evidence for its claims, had made "misleading, deceptive, and untrue representations," per the Courier Mail. The company was ordered to pay the fine, publish corrections, and pay the cost of the consumer watchdog's investigation. Lorna Jane argued that it had been misled by a supplier but said it will not contest the fine. A "trusted supplier" had told the company a spray used on the clothing "was both antibacterial and antiviral," chief executive Bill Clarkson said. "We believed we were passing on a benefit to our customers." (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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