Victims scammed via Western Union may get refunds

The ACCC’s Scamwatch is urging all Australians who lost money to a scammer through Western Union from 2004 to 2017 to take action by 31 May* to try to get it back.

Western Union has agreed to pay a penalty of US$586 million to the United States’ Department of Justice (DOJ) after admitting to aiding and abetting wire fraud. The DOJ is using this penalty to provide refunds to eligible people worldwide who were tricked into paying scammers via Western Union.

Small business in focus - 1 July to 31 December 2017

This twice-yearly report provides a summary of ACCC activities in the small business, franchising and agriculture sectors.

39 per cent increase in consumer guarantee reports in 2017

More than 29,000 people reported consumer guarantee issues to the ACCC in 2017, with half noting problems getting remedies for faulty automotive, whitegoods or electronics products.

The ACCC is concerned by this growing trend, which shows a 39 per cent increase in reports about consumer guarantee issues when compared to the 21,000 received in 2016.

“It’s disappointing to see that more and more people are having issues enforcing their consumer guarantee rights,” ACCC Acting Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

ACCC Christmas and New Year arrangements

The ACCC will have limited operations during the Christmas and new year period. Our offices in all states and territories will be closed from 12pm on Friday 22 December 2017 until 8:30am on
Tuesday 2 January 2018.

The ACCC Infocentre (1300 302 502) will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The Infocentre will otherwise be open on weekdays from 8:30am to 5:30pm. Consumers and small businesses who would like to make a report to the Infocentre are encouraged to do using the Infocentre web form.

Federal Court rejects Vodafone’s judicial review of roaming inquiry

The Federal Court of Australia has today dismissed Vodafone Hutchison Australia’s (VHA) application for judicial review of the ACCC’s conduct in holding a public inquiry and making a draft decision not to declare a domestic mobile roaming service.

The ACCC published the draft decision in May 2017, in which it reached the preliminary view that there was insufficient evidence that the declaration of a wholesale domestic mobile roaming service would promote the long-term interests of end users (LTIE).

Remote Indigenous communities to remain ATM fee-free

The ACCC has granted re-authorisation for banks to provide fee-free ATM services in certain very remote Indigenous communities for 10 years.

Under the arrangement, participating banks and ATM deployers provide fee-free ATM withdrawals and balance enquiries at up to 85 selected ATMs for customers of those banks.

“People living in very remote Indigenous communities can often pay high levels of total ATM fees due to frequent ATM usage to check balances and withdraw money, and a lack of access to alternatives,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

ACCC discontinues merger review of Cell Care's acquisition of Cryosite assets

The ACCC has announced that it will not make a decision on whether to grant clearance for Cell Care Australia Pty Ltd’s proposed acquisition of certain assets of Cryosite Limited (ASX: CTE), and will discontinue its public merger review.

Cell Care and Cryosite were the only two providers of private umbilical cord blood and tissue collection, processing, and storage in Australia.