ACCC and FBI sign inter-agency cooperation agreement

A new Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the ACCC and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will strengthen the agencies’ joint efforts in combating cartels and other anti-competitive behaviour.

The MOC provides for the exchange of expertise and staff between the two agencies to enhance work in the detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal competition offences.

Mortgage broking disciplinary rules granted interim authorisation

The ACCC has granted interim authorisation to allow the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA), the peak national body for mortgage and finance brokers, to continue to administer disciplinary rules enforcing its Code of Practice.

The interim authorisation will give the MFAA time to review its Code of Practice in line with recommendations of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Financial Services Royal Commission), several of which relate to the mortgage broking sector.

Charges laid against alleged forex price fixing cartel

Criminal cartel charges have been laid against a money transfer business and five individuals for allegedly fixing the Australian dollar / Vietnamese dong exchange rate and fees they charged their customers.

The charges arose from a joint ACCC and Australian Federal Police investigation into alleged price fixing by several Sydney and Melbourne money transfer businesses. The charges relate to exchange rates and transaction fees charged when sending money from Australia to Vietnam between 2011 and 2016.

NBN affordability a growing issue

The cost of basic NBN plans is becoming an affordability issue for people on lower incomes, with the plans now more expensive than what most consumers pay for equivalent ADSL plans, ACCC Chair Rod Sims told the CommsDay Summit in Sydney this afternoon.

For around $50 per month a customer could, and still can, get an ADSL internet and voice plan with a 100 gigabyte (GB) quota, or pay $60 for an unlimited quota plan.

DP World, Hutchison Ports and VICT remove likely unfair contract terms

Three container stevedore companies have amended their contracts with land transport businesses after the ACCC raised concerns that certain terms in each of these agreements may be unfair contract terms.  

DP World Australia, Hutchison Ports Australia and Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) agreed, after the ACCC’s intervention, to remove or amend terms in their standard form contracts that the ACCC considered were likely to be considered “unfair” within the meaning of the Australian Consumer Law.

Prices for feminine hygiene products fall

Nearly all businesses removed GST on menstrual products from 1 January 2019, resulting in lower prices, a new report from the ACCC has found.

The ACCC has issued a monitoring report today examining the prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of menstrual products in the feminine hygiene industry in Australia, following a direction from the Treasurer the Hon Josh Frydenberg in November 2018. 

The ACCC welcomes businesses implementing the removal of the GST on time and reflecting this with lower prices.

Consumer Data Right draft rules out

The ACCC today published the draft rules for the Consumer Data Right (CDR) and is seeking feedback from consumers, businesses and community organisations.

The CDR will allow consumers to easily obtain access to their banking data and have it transferred to service providers who they trust.

This might, for example, be comparator or switching services, or providers of financial or budgeting advice. While commencing in the banking sector, it will eventually apply across a range of sectors.

ACCC will not oppose proposed IPH - Xenith acquisition

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Xenith IP Group Limited (ASX: XIP) by IPH Limited (ASX: IPH).

IPH and Xenith are holding companies of intellectual property (IP) businesses, and the proposed acquisition would combine two of the largest suppliers of IP services in Australia.

The ACCC’s investigation of this proposed acquisition examined competition in the supply of Australian IP services, such as patents, trademarks, designs and plant breeder’s rights.