The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted legal proceedings against three orthodontic businesses*, each operating in northern Tasmania, for alleged contraventions of section 45 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
The ACCC alleges that the orthodontists, in various combinations, entered into a series of anti-competitive arrangements which had the purpose of:
- fixing the price of the orthodontic services they each provided to consumers in northern Tasmania
- restricting their respective supply of orthodontic services to new patients when an orthodontist had more customers than the others
- restricting the ability of the orthodontists to supply their respective services from separate premises or work with other orthodontists within 20 kilometres of the existing practices in Launceston, Devonport and Burnie, and
- stopping another orthodontist from setting up a competing practice in northern Tasmania.
The ACCC is seeking a range of remedies including injunctions restraining the respondents from engaging in the alleged conduct, and declarations and findings of fact by the court regarding the alleged contravening conduct.
A directions hearing has been set down for 16 October 2007 before Justice Heerey.
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