Competition and Consumer Act 2010

Court orders penalties of $5.5m against Palram and Ampelite for exclusive dealing

The Federal Court of Australia has declared by consent that Palram Australia and Ampelite Australia engaged in exclusive dealing conduct with the purpose of substantially lessening competition, and has ordered them to pay penalties totaling $5.5 million.

Palram and Ampelite are two of Australia’s largest distributors of polycarbonate roofing (Polycarb) to retail stores under the brands ‘Suntuf’ and ‘Solasafe’. Polycarb is commonly used to build residential pergolas.

ACCC to further increase enforcement work

Over the next year the ACCC will further increase its enforcement action, expand its work on data, algorithms and digital platforms, and increase the use of its powers to gather evidence in complex merger investigations, ACCC Chair Rod Sims told the members at the Law Council of Australia’s Business Law Section annual general meeting held in Sydney tonight.

Recently, the ACCC has won three significant consumer protection penalties: $10m for Telstra; $10m for Ford; and $9m for Apple.

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.