Competition and Consumer Act 2010

Property spruiker Rick Otton and We Buy Houses fined record $18 million

The Federal Court has imposed record penalties totalling $18 million against We Buy Houses Pty Ltd (We Buy Houses) and its sole director, Rick Otton, for making false or misleading representations about how people could create wealth through buying and selling real estate, following ACCC action.

The penalties of $12 million imposed against We Buy Houses, and $6 million imposed against Mr Otton personally, are the highest ever imposed for contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law by a corporation and an individual, respectively.  

ACCC action against Captain Cook College for alleged systemic unconscionable conduct

The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Productivity Partners Pty Ltd, trading as Captain Cook College, alleging systemic unconscionable conduct in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC alleges that from 7 September 2015, Captain Cook College removed consumer safeguards from its enrolment and withdrawal processes for online courses to improve its financial performance.

Hearing aid retailers fined $2.5 million for misleading pensioners

The Federal Court has ordered hearing aid retailers Oticon Australia Pty Ltd (Oticon) and Sonic Innovations Pty Ltd (Sonic) to pay penalties totalling $2.5 million for misleading pensioners through newspaper advertisements for hearing aids sold by AudioClinic and HearingLife clinics.

Oticon and Sonic admitted that the advertisements contained three false and misleading representations about hearing aids available to pensioners under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program. The misleading representations were that:

Port of Newcastle to reduce charge for Glencore

The ACCC has finalised its arbitration of a dispute between Glencore Coal Assets Australia Pty Ltd (Glencore) and Port of Newcastle Operations Pty Ltd (PNO) about terms and conditions for accessing the ‘declared’ shipping channel service at the Port of Newcastle.

The ACCC has determined that PNO should reduce its current charge for ships entering the port to carry Glencore’s coal by around 20 per cent to $0.61 per gross tonne (GT).

The port provides the only commercially viable means of exporting coal from the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales.

Leading Australian hearing clinic pays penalties for misleading customers

Australian Hearing Services has paid penalties totalling $37,800 after the ACCC issued three infringement notices alleging the Australian Government owned corporation engaged in false or misleading conduct in connection with the supply of hearing services to consumers.

The ACCC also accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Australian Hearing, which has admitted that its conduct breached the Australian Consumer Law.

EGR to pay $6m penalty for exclusive dealing

Oakmoore Pty Ltd, trading as EGR, and its director Mr Rodney Horwill were today ordered to pay $6.35 million in penalties for being knowingly concerned in exclusive dealing conduct with the purpose of substantially lessening competition.

The Federal Court recently imposed penalties of $3.5 million against Palram Australia and $2.1 million against Ampelite Australia and one of its directors in respect to the same matter, bringing the total penalties to $11.95 million.

ACCC takes action against hearing aid retailers for misleading pensioners

The ACCC has commenced proceedings against hearing aid retailers Oticon Australia Pty Ltd and Sonic Innovations Pty Ltd, alleging that both businesses made false and misleading representations to pensioners in advertisements for hearing aids supplied under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program.

The advertisements were published on 85 occasions in newspapers around Australia from June to November 2017 under the AudioClinic and HearingLife brands. Oticon and Sonic sold more than 10 000 of the advertised Oticon Ria2 and Sonic Cheer20 hearing aids.