ACCC to appeal the Federal Court’s penalty decision

1 August 2013

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has filed a Notice of Appeal in relation to the penalties ordered by the Federal Court on 8 July 2013 against BAJV Pty Ltd and its director, Brendon Ayers.  BAJV was the former Tasmanian franchisee of the Europcar car rental business.

The Court found, based on the parties’ agreed Statement of Facts and Admissions, that BAJV and Mr Ayers had engaged in unconscionable conduct and made false or misleading representations to BAJV customers in connection with repair costs to damaged rental vehicles.

The trial judge, Justice Marshall, imposed civil pecuniary penalties of $200,000 on BAJV and $40,000 on its director Mr Ayers.  

The recent introduction of penalties for contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law is of critical importance for deterring conduct by traders that harms consumers. The ACCC has appealed this decision in order to obtain clarity as to the relevant factors that the Court may take into account when determining the appropriate penalty amount, and because it considers that the penalties imposed are too low in all the circumstances. The ACCC seeks orders setting aside the penalties ordered by the trial judge, and new penalty orders. 

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