In his annual CEDA address, Chairman Rod Sims launched the ACCC's 2018 Compliance and Enforcement policy. This year, the ACCC will focus on consumer issues in broadband services and energy, competition in the financial services and commercial construction sectors, systemic consumer guarantee issues, and conduct that may contravene the new misuse of market power and concerted practices provisions.
Competition and Consumer Act 2010
The Federal Court has ordered the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) to pay $1 million in penalties for secondary boycotts against Boral and Alsafe at construction sites in Hawthorn and Richmond, Victoria.
The court ruled that the CFMEU contravened section 45D(1) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) by engaging in conduct in concert with a shop steward at both sites which hindered or prevented the acquisition of concrete from Boral and its subsidiary Alsafe for the purpose of causing substantial loss or damage to Boral’s business.
The Federal Court has ordered Letore Pty Ltd (Letore) to compensate victims of a permanent residency program, which was operated by Clinica Internationale Pty Ltd (Clinica), for amounts they paid to Clinica.
In 2016, the Federal Court found that Clinica had engaged in unconscionable conduct and made false or misleading representations about the program.
A former director of AMI and NRM, Mr Jacov Vaisman, was declared bankrupt yesterday with the Federal Court granting the ACCC’s application for a sequestration order.
The Court‘s order follows Mr Vaisman’s failure to pay the ACCC’s costs amounting to $3,679,359.00 in proceedings brought by the ACCC against AMI and then NRM. The Court also ordered the ACCC’s costs be taxed and paid from Mr Vaisman’s estate.
The Federal Court declared Peter Foster bankrupt last week, granting the ACCC’s application for a sequestration order after he failed to pay costs in the SensaSlim matter.
“The ACCC took this action because we are committed to enforcing compliance with court orders made against individuals and companies for breaching consumer law,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
Almost 5,000 small businesses contacted the ACCC in the second half of 2017, up from 3,700 in the preceding six months, according to the latest edition of the Small business in focus released today.
“Alleged misleading conduct, false representations and consumer guarantees remained the top issues reported to the ACCC by business last year,” ACCC Acting Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
TPG Internet Pty Ltd (TPG) will compensate nearly 8,000 of its customers who were misled about maximum speeds they could achieve on certain TPG NBN plans.
Between 1 September 2015 and 30 June 2017, TPG sold NBN broadband plans advertising a range of speeds, including the top 100/40 speed tier (download speeds of 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 40 Mbps).
TPG advertised its high-speed plan as “Seriously Fast Internet. Up to 100Mbps”.
The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from consumer electronics manufacturer Belkin to honour claims under its lifetime warranty policies for the lifetime of the original purchaser.
During 2016 and 2017, Belkin supplied certain products with a “lifetime warranty” or “limited lifetime warranty”. However, Belkin applied a policy of only repairing or replacing products under these warranties within the five years from the date of purchase. A disclaimer was not printed on product packaging but was referred to on Belkin’s website.
BHP Billiton Petroleum (Bass Strait) Pty Ltd (BHP) and Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd (Esso) have provided court enforceable undertakings to separately market their share of gas produced under the Gippsland Basin Joint Venture (GBJV) from 1 January 2019.
The ACCC investigated the effect of joint marketing arrangements between BHP and Esso during the period from late 2013 to 2015, after concerns arose about those arrangements during the ACCC’s 2015 East Coast Gas Inquiry.