Media

ACCC takes action against Servcorp for alleged Unfair Contract Terms

The ACCC has instituted proceedings against Servcorp Ltd and two of its subsidiaries (Servcorp) alleging that a number of terms in Servcorp’s standard form contracts with small businesses are unfair and should be declared void.

Servcorp supplies serviced office space and virtual office services such as office suites, secretarial services, IT, communications and personal assistants to its clients, many of whom are Australian small businesses.

Fuel price data can benefit motorists and retailers

Speaking at the Asia Pacific Fuel Industry Forum today, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims outlined how fuel price data from websites and apps empower price-sensitive consumers. The industry can then attract these consumers through discounts to increase their sales.

Since 2016 fuel price data has been readily available to motorists from an increasing number of websites and apps. These include the NSW FuelCheck scheme, the GasBuddy app, the NRMA app and the 7-Eleven app. This information assists consumers find the best time to buy at sites with the lowest prices.

Don't gift a scammer iTunes cards

The ACCC is warning people to be on the lookout for scammers who are trying to con their victims into paying for scams with Apple iTunes gift cards.

During 2017 to date, reports to the ACCC’s Scamwatch show 1236 people lost nearly $540,000 to scammers using gift cards as payments.

This is a growing trend: in the 2015-16 financial year losses were about $480,000.

“Scammers are increasingly getting their victims to pay with iTunes gift cards as they can quickly on-sell them and pocket the money,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

ACCC takes JJ Richards to court over alleged unfair contract terms

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against JJ Richards & Sons Pty Ltd (JJ Richards) alleging that eight clauses in its standard form small business contract are void because they are unfair under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

JJ Richards is one of the largest privately-owned waste management companies in Australia and provides recycling, sanitary, and green waste collection services.

Court dismisses ACCC action against LG

The Federal Court has today dismissed proceedings brought by the ACCC against LG Electronics Australia Pty Ltd (LG).

The ACCC had alleged that LG made false or misleading representations to consumers about their rights in relation to faulty LG products.

In relation to complaints about defects with its televisions, the ACCC alleged LG misrepresented to consumers, retailers, or repairers that:

Excessive payment surcharge ban

From tomorrow, every business across Australia will be banned from charging customers excessive surcharges for using certain types of EFTPOS, Mastercard, Visa and American Express cards to make payments.

The excessive surcharging ban has applied to large businesses since September last year and now extends to all businesses that are either based in Australia or use an Australian bank. The ban does not affect businesses that choose not to apply a surcharge to payments.

Petrol prices at lowest level since 2002, but margins high

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report on the Australian petroleum industry for the June quarter 2017 shows that retail margins remained high despite quarterly average petrol prices in the five largest cities dropping by 3.9 cents per litre (cpl) from the March quarter to 125.2 cpl.

In 2016-17 annual average petrol prices were at their lowest levels in real terms since 2001-02 (see Chart 1).

Annual average retail petrol prices in the five largest cities were 122.6 cpl in 2016-17, slightly higher than in 2015-16 in nominal terms.

Court dismisses ACCC action against Medibank

The Federal Court has today dismissed proceedings brought by the ACCC against Medibank Private Limited (Medibank).

The ACCC had alleged that Medibank made false, misleading or deceptive representations and engaged in unconscionable conduct in relation to its failure to notify Medibank members and members of its subsidiary brand, ahm, of its decision to limit benefits for in-hospital pathology and radiology services, despite representing across a number of its communication and marketing materials that it would.

Justice O’Callaghan dismissed all allegations.