Google’s purchase of Fitbit raises preliminary competition concerns

The ACCC has today outlined preliminary concerns with Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit, stating that Google’s access to consumer health data may raise entry barriers, further entrench its dominant position and adversely affect competition in several digital advertising and health markets.

Fitbit, a company that makes wearable devices, has collected health information from consumers for more than 10 years, including users’ daily step counts, heart rate and sleep data.

AFG and Connective mortgage aggregator deal not opposed

The ACCC will not oppose Australian Finance Group Ltd’s (ASX:AFG) proposed acquisition of Connective Group Pty Ltd (Connective).

AFG and Connective are both mortgage aggregators, which act as intermediaries between mortgage brokers and lenders, such as banks.

The ACCC considered the acquisition’s potential impact on lenders, mortgage brokers and consumers. Brokers play an important role for many consumers seeking a mortgage, and their services also allow individual lenders to access a wider group of potential consumers.

Caravanning Queensland’s proposed ‘loyalty program’ raises competition concerns

The ACCC proposes not to allow plans by Caravan Trade and Industries Association of Queensland (Caravanning Queensland) to offer a ‘loyalty program’ to its members.  Under the program, Caravanning Queensland would offer discounted fees to exhibit at its own caravanning trade shows on the condition that members do not take part in competing events.

The ACCC intends to revoke an exclusive dealing notification lodged by Caravanning Queensland about the ‘loyalty program’ because it raises serious competition concerns.

Lime e-scooters undertakes to address concerns about safety misrepresentations

The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from e-scooter rental company Lime Network Pty Ltd (Lime) to address the ACCC’s concerns regarding misrepresentations about the safety of its Generation 2 (Gen 2) model of e‑scooters and to comply with its product safety reporting obligations.

The ACCC considers Lime misrepresented to consumers that its Gen 2 e-scooters were safe to use when in fact it did not disclose to consumers a safety issue it was aware of.

Easier comparisons now available for foreign currency conversions

People who use foreign currency conversion (FX) services now have greater access to accurate online calculators to help compare prices, but the ACCC says greater transparency is still needed at a time when many Australians are sending money to family and friends overseas.

The ACCC’s Foreign currency exchange services inquiry report, released in September last year, found many Australian consumers were paying too much for FX services.

Appeal on Kleenex flushable wipes claim dismissed

The Full Federal Court has dismissed an appeal by the ACCC and found that Kimberly-Clark Australia Pty Ltd (Kimberly-Clark) did not make false and misleading claims that its Kleenex Cottonelle toilet wipes were flushable.

The ACCC alleged that by labelling these products as “flushable”, consumers would believe the Kleenex wipes products had similar characteristics to toilet paper and would break up or disintegrate in a similar timeframe.

New safety standard for projectile toys

An updated mandatory safety standard for projectile toys has been issued today, designed to protect children from serious eye injuries or choking from toys like bow and arrow sets and toy guns.

Suppliers are now able to choose to comply with either the latest Australian voluntary standard or listed overseas standards, which is estimated to save Australian businesses approximately $6.75 million per annum through greater access to global markets and reduced compliance costs.

Quantum Housing to pay $700,000 in penalties for misleading property owners

The Federal Court has ordered Quantum Housing Group Pty Ltd to pay $700,000 in penalties for making false or misleading representations relating to the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

Between February 2017 and July 2018, Quantum sent a series of misleading letters and emails to at least 450 investors who had rental dwellings participating in the NRAS scheme, and pressured them to terminate their arrangements with their existing property managers and instead use property managers approved or recommended by Quantum. 

Insurers to be authorised to continue relief measures for small businesses

The ACCC is proposing to allow insurance companies and brokers to continue coordination and implementation of temporary COVID-19 relief measures for certain small businesses.

The authorisation will apply to Suncorp, Allianz, QBE Insurance and other insurers or insurance brokers who have notified the ACCC.

Under an urgent interim authorisation granted by the ACCC on 2 April 2020, insurers and brokers were granted temporary permission to coordinate a range of relief measures to eligible policyholders whose insurance premiums fall due before 30 June 2020.

Proposal to set minimum advertised prices for Dewalt power tools rejected

The ACCC has issued a final notice rejecting a proposal by Stanley Black & Decker to set a minimum advertised price for Dewalt brand power tools, accessories and attachments.

The ACCC has assessed Stanley Black & Decker’s resale price maintenance notification and concluded that any public benefits that resulted from setting minimum advertised prices for the Dewalt products would not outweigh the likely detriments.