Consumers

ACCC welcomes consumer data right

Following the Treasurer’s response to the Open Banking Review, the ACCC welcomes the introduction of a general data right for all consumers and $20 million in the Federal Budget over the next four years to oversee its implementation.

The consumer data right will enable customers to share their transaction, usage and product data with service competitors and comparison services, if they choose to do so.

HP to compensate printer customers

Customers of HP PPS Australia Pty Ltd (HP) who bought certain models of HP printers without being informed non-HP ink cartridges may not work in them could be eligible for compensation, the ACCC announced today.

HP has given the ACCC a court-enforceable undertaking to compensate customers who were unable to use non-HP ink cartridges due to an undisclosed technology in their printers.

The technology, known as “Dynamic Security Feature” (DSF), was designed to prevent non-HP ink cartridges from being used in these HP printers.

C&I users need affordable energy

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims delivered an address to the Energy Users Association of Australia’s (EUAA) 2018 National Conference today, highlighting the current state of Australia’s electricity and gas markets.

“In Australia, the matters surrounding energy are some of our defining economic challenges for the 21st century,” Mr Sims said.

Digital platforms inquiry submissions published

The ACCC has today published 57 submissions received from advertisers, consumers, digital platforms, journalists and media organisations as part of its digital platforms inquiry.

The submissions canvassed a wide range of issues, including the degree of market power held by the digital platforms, the digital advertising supply chain, and the use of news content by digital platforms, including Google and Facebook.

Telstra to pay $10 million for misleading premium billing charge representations

The Federal Court has today ordered Telstra to pay penalties of $10 million for making false or misleading representations to customers in relation to its third-party billing service known as “Premium Direct Billing” (PDB), following action by the ACCC.

The Court held, by consent, that Telstra misled customers and breached the ASIC Act when it charged them for digital content, such as games and ringtones, which they unknowingly purchased. Telstra admitted that more than 100,000 customers may have been affected and has committed to offer refunds to these customers.

Court orders Ford to pay $10 million penalty for unconscionable conduct

The Federal Court has declared, by consent, that Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited (Ford) engaged in unconscionable conduct in the way it dealt with complaints about PowerShift transmission (PST) cars, and ordered Ford to pay $10 million in penalties.

The Court held that Ford’s conduct in responding to consumer complaints about Fiesta, Focus and EcoSport vehicles fitted with PST between 1 May 2015 and 29 February 2016 was unconscionable

High Court dismisses Valve’s special leave to appeal application

The High Court of Australia has dismissed a special leave application by one of the world’s largest online gaming companies, US-based Valve Corporation (Valve), which operates the Steam game distribution platform.

Valve had sought special leave to appeal from the decision of the Full Federal Court in December 2017, which upheld the trial judge’s ruling that Valve had breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) when selling to Australia users, and that it pay a $3 million penalty.

Thermomix ordered to pay penalties of more than $4.6 million

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered Thermomix In Australia Pty Ltd (Thermomix) to pay penalties totalling $4,608,500 for making false or misleading representations and misleading the public in relation to its Thermomix kitchen appliances.

The Court held that Thermomix breached the Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading representations to certain consumers through its silence about a safety issue affecting its TM31 appliance, which the company knew about. 

Pental to pay $700,000 in penalties for ‘flushable’ wipes claims

The Federal Court has ordered Pental Limited and Pental Products Pty Ltd (together, Pental) to pay penalties totalling $700,000, for making false and misleading representations about its White King ‘flushable’ toilet and bathroom cleaning wipes.

Pental’s packaging and promotional materials for its White King wipes included statements such as “flushable”, “Simply wipe over the hard surface of the toilet…and just flush away”, and “White King Toilet Wipes are made from a specially designed material, which will disintegrate in the sewage system when flushed, just like toilet paper”.