Vector's HRV Clean Water Limited (HCW) has pleaded guilty to 11 charges of unsubstantiated or misleading claims about the benefits of its water filters.

The charges were laid by the Commerce Commission in the Auckland District Court under the Fair Trading Act.

The charges relate to claims made by HRV between 2 July 2014 and 12 October 2017 on its website, in promotional materials and to customers and the public at presentations.

The commission alleges HRV made unsubstantiated claims about:
• the ability of its water filter systems to soften water
• the benefits that consumers could expect of soft water after using the water filters
• the water filters' ability to reduce skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis.


Other charges included misleading representations about the levels of chemicals and additives in New Zealand's domestic water supply resulting in the need for consumers to buy a HRV water filter to address the issue.

A spokesperson said the company acknowledged the unintended breach and was working ensure tighter control over future marketing.

"Following the Commission's original request for information, HCW took steps to address their concerns and immediately removed any inaccurate information based on its feedback.

"HCW take an investigation of this kind very seriously. We have put in place additional processes to ensure tighter control over our marketing material in the future."

Vector bought E-Co Products Group, better known as home ventilation firm HRV, and solar installation division PowerSmart in 2017 for a combined $91 million as a means to further broaden its energy services.

Fair Trading Act breaches attract fines of up to $600,000 for companies and $200,000 penalties for individuals.

A sentencing date has been set for 14 September 2018.