Interim authorisation for Virgin Australia and United Airlines codeshare pricing

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation for a proposed codeshare pricing arrangement between Virgin Australia and United Airlines.

Currently Virgin Australia operates domestic services and limited short-haul international services and United Airlines operates long-haul services between Australia and the United States and beyond.

Under the proposed codeshare, Virgin Australia and United Airlines would be able to put their code on passenger flight services operated by the other, extending each other’s networks across both sides of the Pacific.

Trivago to pay $44.7 million in penalties for misleading consumers over hotel room rates

The Federal Court has ordered Trivago to pay penalties of $44.7 million for making misleading representations about hotel room rates on its website and in television advertising, in proceedings brought by the ACCC.

In January 2020, the Federal Court found that Trivago had breached the Australian Consumer Law by misleading consumers when representing that its website would quickly and easily help users identify the best deal or cheapest rates available for a given hotel.

Honda in court for allegedly misleading consumers about dealership closures

The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Honda Australia Pty Ltd for making false or misleading representations to consumers about two former authorised Honda dealerships, Brighton Automotive Holdings Pty Ltd (Astoria) in Victoria and Tynan Motors Pty Ltd (Tynan) in NSW.

The ACCC alleges that between January 2021 and June 2021, Honda Australia represented to customers of Astoria and Tynan that the dealerships would close or had closed and would no longer service Honda vehicles.

Insurance cover

The Government has created a cyclone and flood related damage reinsurance pool. From 1 July 2022, insurance companies will use the pool, a financing mechanism, to increase their ability to support specific types of risks.

ACCC flags increased focus on Horticulture Code enforcement

Some fruit and vegetable wholesalers are not meeting their legal obligations under the Horticulture Code of Conduct, recent audits by the ACCC have found.

The ACCC conducted audits after hearing through its Perishable Agricultural Goods Inquiry that some fruit and vegetable wholesalers were trading without Horticulture Produce Agreements, which is a breach of the code. Horticulture Produce Agreements are written contracts that growers and wholesalers must have in place before trading with each other.

Ministerial direction

On 31 March 2022, the Australian Government announced that it had directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into towers used in the supply of mobile telecommunications and other radiocommunications services in regional areas, and into the feasibility of providing mobile roaming during natural disasters or other emergencies.