ACCC investigating optometrist over free eye-glass offer
Aussie eyewear company Oscar Wylee is under investigation over its promise to donate glasses to people in need.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Authority (ACCC) is alleging the company's charitable campaign "I Care For Eyecare" failed to deliver the number of glasses it promised.
The campaign began in 2014 with the promise that for every pair of glasses purchased, Oscar Wylee would donate a pair to people in need.
The ACCC claims until at least December 2018, the company had promoted a partnership with Rose Charities to help build sustainable eye care programs in Cambodia, and fund a particular individual's study to become an eye surgeon.
The ACCC is taking the business to the Federal Court for alleged misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations about its charitable donations and affiliation.
"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 "I Care For Eyecare" included phrases such as "For every pair purchased, a pair is donated to someone in need" and "Buying a pair today? As soon as you do, we'll donate a pair to someone in need".
Those phrases appeared on the Oscar Wylee websites between January 2014 and December 2018.
The ACCC alleges during that period the company sold 328,010 pair of glasses but donated only 3181.
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.
"We are concerned that consumers may have chosen Oscar Wylee over other eyewear companies because they believed their purchase would result in Oscar Wylee providing glasses to people in need and supporting a sustainable eye care program in Cambodia." said Ms Rickard.
Prior to 2014, Oscar Wylee had made a donation of $2000 to Rose Charities which is an umbrella group that operates in 18 countries.
The ACCC alleges that Oscar Wylee only started donating significant numbers of glasses from early 2019 and most of those donations started after media articles drew attention to their marketing claims.
News.com.au has contacted Oscar Wylee for comment.