The Fair Trade Commission has imposed a fine of 1.563 billion won on seven air purifier producers for using exaggerated advertizing expressions such as "99.99% virus removal rate" and "99.9% bacterial reduction rate."
The seven companies are Coway, Samsung Electronics, Winix, Chungho Nice, Cuckoo Homsis, Cuckoo Holdings, and Air Vita. Coway was charged 500 million won and Samsung Electronics was fined 428 million won.
LG Electronics only received a warning since the degree of violation was not severe and there was a low chance consumers could misunderstand.
The seven companies advertised their air purifiers based on the results of experiments conducted under extremely limited conditions to measure the removal rate of harmful substances such as viruses and bacteria. They concealed the fact that the results are from limited experiments and only highlighted the figure '99.9%’.
Consumers who look at these advertisements are most likely to misunderstand that the products will eliminate 99.9% of viruses or bacteria at home, not in the experimental environment. In particular, the use of expressions such as “removal of harmful viruses in the air” or “powerful disinfection of bacteria in every corner of the house”, or “turning the air into clean natural air” may mislead customers to think that the products will have the same or similar performances in real life as they are advertised.
The Fair Trade Commission also said that the validity of the experiment could not be recognized as the results were derived from extremely limited experimental conditions set by the companies themselves without an authorized test method for measuring the removal rate of harmful substances by air purifiers.