Eyewear chain Oscar Wylee is being investigated for allegedly making misleading claims about its pledge to donate glasses to people in need.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Authority (ACCC) alleges the company’s campaign I Care For Eyecare, which began in 2014, has delivered only 1% of its claim to donate glasses for every pair sold. According to ACCC figures to December 2018, approx 320,000 pairs were sold, with only around 3,000 given away.
The eyewear firm, which has over 50 stores across Australia and opened two stores in New Zealand in October, promoted its partnership with Rose Charities to help build sustainable eye care programmes in Cambodia and to fund a local to become an eye surgeon.
However, the ACCC alleges that between at least January 2014 and December 2018, Oscar Wylee’s entire association with Rose Charities was limited to a single $2000 donation, and 100 frames donated in early 2014.
It is alleged no further donations or support were provided to Rose Charities after February 2014, despite the partnership claims continuing to be made for almost five years.
“These alleged false or misleading claims presented Oscar Wylee as engaged in significant charitable activity, and exploited consumers’ desire to support charitable causes. Instead, we allege Oscar Wylee donated less than 1 per cent of the glasses it said it would,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
The ACCC is taking the business to the Australian Federal Court for alleged misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations about its charitable donations and affiliation.
Oscar Wylee strongly disputes the allegations, insisting it has upheld its charity promises.
Promotional images for Oscar Wylee's I care for eyecare campaign.