Media Releases

Commission charges water filter company over its water softening claims

26 June 2018

HRV Clean Water Limited (HRV) has pleaded guilty to 11 charges laid by the Commission for the unsubstantiated (unproven) or misleading claims HRV made about the benefits of its water filters and about the quality of New Zealand’s domestic water supply.

Charges were laid in Auckland District Court under the Fair Trading Act. By law, a business must have reasonable grounds for making a claim at the time it is made. The charges relate to claims HRV made between 2 July 2014 and 12 October 2017 on its website, in promotional materials and to customers and the public at presentations.

The Commission charges are that 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.

The other Commission charges are that HRV made misleading representations about the levels of chemicals and additives in New Zealand’s domestic water supply, and the need for consumers to buy a water filter to address this.

As this matter is before the court, the Commission cannot comment further at this time. A sentencing date has been set for 14 September 2018.

Background

Watch our video - If you can’t back it up, don’t say it

Consumers need to be able to rely on the accuracy of claims. It is illegal for a trader to make a claim about a good or service without any reasonable basis. You can watch our video ‘If you can’t back it up, don’t say it and see more about unsubstantiated representations here.

Hard water versus soft water

Hard water is the term used to describe water containing high levels of minerals. When water contains high levels of minerals, it tends to deposit these minerals onto surfaces - often referred to as “scale”. Hard water can also make soap form a scum on surfaces. Conventional methods of treating hard water (reverse osmosis and ion exchange) involve removing the minerals from water which cause it to be hard. The result is soft water which does not cause scale or scum build up.

Company details

HRV was incorporated in 2011 and is owned by E-Co Products Group Limited. The HRV brand is a well-known New Zealand company that sells home environment products, most notably ventilation and heating systems.