Red light for distributors of car rust reduction devices (CECI Units)
Consumer Protection has taken action to stop the sale of, and secure refunds for consumers who bought a device that’s supposed to reduce rust and corrosion by as much as 80% in motor vehicles but fails to do so. The device, which was often sold as part of a package of after sales care products on new vehicles, connects to the vehicle’s battery.
Computerised Electronic Corrosion Inhibitor Units (CECI Units) were marketed as being able to ‘drastically reduce the rate at which rust forms in motor vehicles’. However Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe believes there was no basis for such claims and has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking under the Australian Consumer Law (WA) with distributors High Performance Corporation Pty Ltd (HPC) and MotorOne Group Pty Ltd (MotorOne).
“Consumer Protection sought independent expert opinion and testing, which concluded that CECI Units did not prevent rust or corrosion,” Mr Newcombe said.
“In fact the ‘science’ behind the claimed protection simply cannot work in this scenario. For unwanted rust to be attracted to a sacrificial piece of metal using positive electrical current requires the negatively connected rusty metal to be in a conductive solution, so essentially the vehicle would need to be constantly submerged in water.
“Our undertaking with HPC and MotorOne prevents them from supplying, advertising or promoting CECI Units, or substantially similar devices, in Australia from 31 December 2015. It also requires the distributors to write to retailers that sold their products, including four car dealerships and 19 car window tinting outlets in WA, to inform them of the undertaking and to the availability of refunds to all of the consumers who paid hundreds of dollars per device over the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2013. Additionally, a notice must be published on the distributors’ websites www.defensepak.com.au and www.motoronefleet.com.”
The undertaking was sought by the Commissioner for Consumer Protection on behalf of all Australian Consumer Law regulators, due to concerns that false and misleading statements had been made about CECI Units in multiple jurisdictions. This included a claim that ‘laboratory tests demonstrate a reduction in the corrosion process by as much as 80% effectively doubling your vehicle’s life span against rust and corrosion’.
The undertaking can be viewed at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/undertakings.
Mr Newcombe said other makers of similar products could face a red light down the track.
“We monitor the marketplace and liaise with senior motor vehicle industry representatives regularly, so we know of other similar rust or corrosion prevention devices that do not work as they are supposed to. We have those distributors and sellers in our sights. This is likely to be the first domino to fall,” he said.
Media contact (Consumer Protection)
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