Water filter salesmen used fear tactics when they went door-to-door, telling customers that tap water could cause leukaemia, cancer and birth defects, a court has been told.
Phillip John Smart, the director of Love Springs, has denied seven charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act by being party to the misrepresentations.
Commerce Commission prosecutor John Dixon told the Auckland District Court yesterday that Smart's salesmen told householders tap water contained potentially dangerous germs and chemicals.
Mr Dixon said Smart and his company had previously been convicted in Queensland for five breaches of the Australian Fair Trading Act.
Former Love Springs team leader Anthony Beech told the court he began working for Love Springs in Brisbane, and came to Auckland when the company started business in New Zealand in July 2009.
Mr Beech said he and other salesmen did internet "research" on tap water before going to poorer Auckland suburbs, because Smart said people there were "less intelligent".
He said if the prospective customers had children, he would "get the kids involved", and would talk about the effects of fluoride and chlorine.