Women’s sportswear brand Lorna Jane allegedly made false claims its activewear could stop the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Annette Dew
Women’s sportswear brand Lorna Jane allegedly made false claims its activewear could stop the spread of coronavirus. Picture: Annette Dew

Lorna Jane sued over ridiculous virus claim

Women's sportswear brand Lorna Jane is being sued by the competition regulator for allegedly making false claims its activewear could stop and eliminate the spread of COVID-19.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has lodged legal proceedings against the Brisbane-based company over its "Anti-virus Activewear" marketing campaign, which claimed products were sprayed with a "LJ (Lorna Jane) Shield" coronavirus-killing spray.

The ACCC is alleging the antivirus garments were a false and misleading claim to consumers with no scientific study implemented to determine if the activewear could stop the spread of COVID-19.

It is also alleging the company's chief executive Lorna Jane Clarkson was well aware the products did not combat the virus and made personal false claims by spruiking the clothes on social media and in testimonials.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has lodged legal proceedings against the Brisbane-based company. Picture: Isabella Magee
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has lodged legal proceedings against the Brisbane-based company. Picture: Isabella Magee

Lorna Jane's statement in question is: "with Lorna Jane Shield on our garments it meant that we were completely eliminating the possibility of spreading any deadly viruses", and "LJ Shield - Protecting you with ANTI-VIRUS ACTIVEWEAR".

Most of the claims were removed in mid-July, but the ACCC says Lorna Jane continued to run the false representations on garment tags until at least November.

ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said the claims were not backed by any scientific evidence and took advantage of vulnerable consumers, particularly Victorians who were battling a second wave of the virus.

"We allege that the statements made by Lorna Jane gave the impression that the COVID-19 claims were based on scientific or technological evidence when this was not the case," Ms Court said.

Antibacterial Lorna Jane Gear. Pic Annette Dew
Antibacterial Lorna Jane Gear. Pic Annette Dew

"It is particularly concerning that allegedly misleading claims that Lorna Jane's LJ Shield Activewear could eliminate the spread of COVID-19 were made at a time when there was fear about a second wave emerging in Australia, especially in Victoria, and all Australians were concerned about being exposed to the virus."

Lorna Jane operates 108 stores.

Separately, the Therapeutic Good Administration issued three infringement notices to Lorna Jane in July totalling $39,960.

The action related to Lorna Jane's failure to register goods on the Australian register of therapeutic goods, a breach of the advertising code and the company's failure to seek TGA approval prior to making certain claims.

Originally published as Lorna Jane sued over ridiculous virus claim


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