Fujitsu has been fined $310,000 for making unsubstantiated claims about the energy efficiency of its heat pumps.
Fujitsu General New Zealand pleaded guilty to seven charges of breaching the Fair Trading Act (FTA) and was sentenced in the Wellington District Court today.
The Commerce Commission, which brought the charges, said the company had made unsubstantiated or misleading claims over a period of over two years to October 2016.
"On its website and in promotional pamphlets, Fujitsu made claims such as 'NZ's most energy efficient heat pump range' and that a particular heat pump range delivered 'better heat efficiency' and constituted 'the most efficient system ever'," the commission said.
It also made false or misleading claims that its e3 heat pump delivered "$4.92 heat for a $1 power", something that was achieved only under laboratory conditions and not likely in real-world conditions.
Judge Ian Mill said the dissemination of information was "significant and significantly inaccurate".
"All the facts must have been known to the defendant company including the limitation of the test results."
Commissioner Anna Rawlings said the conduct involved bold claims about superiority and energy efficiency, made in persuasive terms by a well-known and reputable manufacturer.
"Claims about efficiency are important to consumers who may be cost-conscious but also concerned about the environment. The efficiency of these heat-pumps was represented as a key selling feature, but without a proper scientific foundation for the claims," she said.
Fujitsu is the first company convicted and fined under the unsubstantiated representations provision of the FTA, which came into force in 2014.