Two solar panel companies have been fined $125,000 by the Federal Court after falsely claiming the panels they supplied were made in Australia when they were made in China.
The court has ordered P & N Pty Ltd and P & N NSW Pty Ltd (trading as Euro Solar) and Worldwide Energy and Manufacturing Pty Ltd (WEMA), formerly trading as Australian Solar Panel, pay the combined penalties.
The fines follow action taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The sole director of P&N and WEMA, Mr Nikunjkumar Patel, was also ordered to pay a penalty of $20,000 for his involvement.
The court found that P&N, P&N NSW and WEMA falsely claimed their solar panels were made in Australia, when they were made in China.
It also found that video testimonials published on YouTube by P&N and P&N NSW and written testimonials published by WEMA on its website were not made by genuine customers of the companies.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said consumers should be able to trust that testimonials gave honest feedback about a consumer's experiences with a service or product.
"Credence claims such as country of origin can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses, with consumers often prepared to pay a premium for products made in Australia," he said in a statement on Friday.
The misleading representations were made online, in newspapers and on television between November 2012 and September 2013 and were brought to the ACCC's attention by competing businesses.