The Commerce Commission has fined two companies just over $400,000 for falsely representing steel mesh products used to strengthen buildings.
Timber King and NZ Steel Distributor faced charges under the Fair Trading Act. Both companies pleaded guilty to making "false, misleading and unsubstantiated representations" about their TS10 steel mesh.
These offences included a forged test certificate claiming the steel had been independently tested and was sufficient to be used structurally in an earthquake zone.
Auckland District Court Judge Robert Ronayne said given New Zealand's quake history, it's vital the country can rely on the claims of such companies.
"The use of non-compliant steel mesh, especially in the context of earthquake-compliant mesh, has actual and potentially enormous consequences for consumers, for competitors and for the reputation of the building industry."
He described them as "grossly negligent" in the way they checked for compliance.