The ACCC will re-think its approach to penalties for breaches of the competition law after an OECD report found that average Australian penalties are significantly lower than those imposed in other comparable OECD jurisdictions.
Competition and Consumer Act 2010
The ACCC has taken Federal Court action against Aboriginal art products and Australiana souvenirs wholesaler Birubi Art Pty Ltd (Birubi), alleging it made misleading Indigenous art claims.
The ACCC alleges that between July 2014 and November 2017, Birubi contravened the Australian Consumer Law by making false or misleading representations that some of its products were made in Australia and/or that Aboriginal people had made or hand painted them, when in fact they were made in Indonesia.
Internet providers iiNet Limited and Internode Pty Ltd will compensate more than 11,000 customers who could not reach the internet speeds they were promised in their NBN contracts, following an investigation by the ACCC.
Remedies will now be offered to more than 8,000 iiNet customers and more than 3,000 Internode customers. Affected customers can choose from options including moving to a lower tier speed plan with a refund, or exiting their plan without cost and receiving a refund.
The Federal Court has ordered that online business directory service ABG Pages Pty Ltd (ABG) pay a $300,000 penalty for breaching the Australian Consumer Law. ABG admitted to engaging in systemic unconscionable conduct, undue harassment, and making false and misleading representations in relation to its online advertising services.
The Court also ordered ABG’s sole director, Ms Michele McCullough, pay a $40,000 penalty and be disqualified from managing corporations for 5 years for her role in the conduct.
The Federal Court today has found that food manufacturer H.J. Heinz Company Australia Ltd (Heinz) made a misleading health claim that its Little Kids Shredz products were beneficial for young children.
The ACCC alleged that images and statements on Shredz products represented to consumers that they were a healthy and nutritious food for young children, when this was not the case.
Chairman Rod Sims has announced the ACCC’s product safety priorities for 2018 at the National Consumer Congress. Mr Sims has reaffirmed the ACCC's support for a general safety provision to be introduced in Australia law to reduce the risk of unsafe goods entering the market, and the nine critical safety issues facing Australian consumers.
Telco provider Australian Private Networks Pty Ltd, trading as Activ8me, has paid a penalty of $12,600 after the ACCC issued an Infringement Notice for alleged false and misleading representations. It’s alleged Activ8me represented that its internet services were endorsed or approved by the ACCC as being superior to those offered by other providers, when this was not the case.
The ACCC has taken action against Woolworths Limited (Woolworths) in the Federal Court, alleging that the environmental representations Woolworths made about its ‘W Select eco’ picnic products were false, misleading or deceptive, in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.
Networking equipment manufacturer Netgear will provide remedies and refunds to customers who were misled by its warranty and technical support representations, following action by the ACCC.
From June 2016, Netgear incorrectly told customers they could not receive a remedy for a faulty product, unless they were covered by Netgear’s manufacturer’s warranty or they purchased a technical support contract.
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.