Competition and Consumer Act 2010

ACCC takes action against Ashley & Martin for alleged unfair contract terms

The ACCC has instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Ashley & Martin Pty Ltd (Ashley & Martin) alleging that clauses in its standard form contracts are unfair under the Australian Consumer Law and therefore void.

Ashley & Martin is an Australian company that provides hair loss treatment programs and hair replacement services to customers through its clinics in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Finder.com.au penalised for misleading consumers

Hive Empire Pty Limited, trading as finder.com.au (Finder), has paid a penalty of $10,800 following the issue of an infringement notice by the ACCC for alleged false or misleading claims about the number of health insurance policies it compares.

The ACCC alleges that between February and May 2017, Finder represented on its website that its health insurance comparison service allowed consumers to “compare roughly 65,000 policies”, when the number of policies compared was substantially less than this.

Red Balloon pays penalty for excessive payment surcharges

Red Balloon Pty Ltd (Red Balloon) has paid penalties totalling $43,200 following the issue of four infringement notices by the ACCC for alleged breaches of the new excessive payment surcharges laws in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Red Balloon is an online trader that sells ‘experiences’ in Australia, such as skydiving jumps, wine tours, and cooking classes.

Court publishes redacted version of liability decision in ACCC v CFMEU case

The Federal Court has today published its judgment on liability in the ACCC v CFMEU case.

The ACCC commenced proceedings against the CFMEU in November 2014 alleging secondary boycott conduct in breach of section 45D of the CCA.

The Court also made non-publication and suppression orders which mean parts of the judgment are redacted.

The ACCC is unable to comment on the judgment due to the non-publication and suppression orders. Accordingly the ACCC will be making no further statements until such time as the non-publication and suppression orders are lifted.

Small Business unfair contract terms in focus

The ACCC is continuing to educate business and take enforcement action to ensure that small businesses receive the protections of the new unfair contract terms laws.

Since 12 November last year, when the laws were extended to small business contracts, the ACCC has taken successful court action against a major waste management company, JJ Richards & Sons Pty Ltd, for unfair contract terms including an automatic five-year rollover clause, a unilateral price variation term and a broad indemnity provision.

Court finds Meriton misled and deceived consumers on TripAdvisor

The Federal Court has found that Meriton Property Services Pty Ltd, trading as ‘Meriton Serviced Apartments’ (Meriton), engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in connection with the posting of reviews of its properties on the TripAdvisor website.

The Court found that from November 2014 to October 2015, Meriton engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by taking steps to prevent guests it suspected would give an unfavourable review from receiving TripAdvisor’s ‘Review Express’ prompt email. Meriton did so by: