Competition and Consumer Act 2010

Empowering consumers against companies

The ACCC will continue to give a voice to consumers and push companies to live up to their responsibilities, ACCC Chair Rod Sims told the West Australian Australian-Israeli Chamber of Commerce in Perth today.

“Our enforcement team here in Perth, for example, has taken a lead role in important areas in the last few years, including franchising matters and unfair contract terms impacting small business, as well as taking part in a number of high profile investigations,” Mr Sims said.

Cases spearheaded by the WA team include:

One Big Switch pays penalties over electricity discount and savings claims

Revtech Media, the company behind group-discount website One Big Switch, has paid penalties of $25,200 after the ACCC issued two infringement notices for alleged false and misleading energy price representations.

Between July and November 2017, One Big Switch advertised a 27 per cent discount for consumers in south east Queensland who switched to Click Energy’s ‘Big Switch Up’ offer.

ACCC seeks Special Leave to appeal Full Federal Court’s Pfizer judgment

The ACCC has sought Special Leave from the High Court to appeal the Full Federal Court‘s judgment of 25 May 2018 which upheld the dismissal of allegations against Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd (Pfizer) by the trial judge.

The ACCC alleges that Pfizer misused its substantial market power and engaged in exclusive dealing conduct for an anti-competitive purpose in breach of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA).

ACCC unsuccessful in appeal against Pfizer

The Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has dismissed an appeal by the ACCC against an earlier judgment in relation to Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd (Pfizer).

The ACCC alleged that Pfizer breached the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 by misusing its market power to prevent or deter competition from other suppliers selling generic atorvastatin products to pharmacies, and engaged in exclusive dealing conduct for the purpose of substantially lessening competition, when offering to supply atorvastatin to community pharmacies.

Telstra to pay $10 million for misleading premium billing charge representations

The Federal Court has today ordered Telstra to pay penalties of $10 million for making false or misleading representations to customers in relation to its third-party billing service known as “Premium Direct Billing” (PDB), following action by the ACCC.

The Court held, by consent, that Telstra misled customers and breached the ASIC Act when it charged them for digital content, such as games and ringtones, which they unknowingly purchased. Telstra admitted that more than 100,000 customers may have been affected and has committed to offer refunds to these customers.

Court orders Ford to pay $10 million penalty for unconscionable conduct

The Federal Court has declared, by consent, that Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited (Ford) engaged in unconscionable conduct in the way it dealt with complaints about PowerShift transmission (PST) cars, and ordered Ford to pay $10 million in penalties.

The Court held that Ford’s conduct in responding to consumer complaints about Fiesta, Focus and EcoSport vehicles fitted with PST between 1 May 2015 and 29 February 2016 was unconscionable

High Court dismisses Valve’s special leave to appeal application

The High Court of Australia has dismissed a special leave application by one of the world’s largest online gaming companies, US-based Valve Corporation (Valve), which operates the Steam game distribution platform.

Valve had sought special leave to appeal from the decision of the Full Federal Court in December 2017, which upheld the trial judge’s ruling that Valve had breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) when selling to Australia users, and that it pay a $3 million penalty.

ACCC welcomes new deputy chair and commissioner reappointments

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims welcomes today’s announcement by the Treasurer Scott Morrison that current ACCC Commissioner Mick Keogh has been appointed Deputy Chair from the end of May for a period of five years. Mr Keogh will oversee the ACCC’s small business work in addition to his current role leading our agriculture work.

Cristina Cifuentes and Sarah Court have also been reappointed as Commissioners of the ACCC for a further five years.

Ms Cifuentes has been an ACCC Commissioner since 2013. Ms Court was first appointed in 2008 and reappointed in 2013.