Consumer rights

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 targets quad bike, button battery and furniture safety

Chairman Rod Sims today announced the ACCC’s product safety priorities for 2018 at the National Consumer Congress in Sydney, and reaffirmed support for a general safety provision to be introduced in Australia law to reduce the risk of unsafe goods entering the market.

“Today, I am proud to release a new policy which sets out how the ACCC prioritises and manages product safety risks, and the issues we will target in 2018. As an agency, it is essential that we prioritise our product safety resource allocation,” Mr Sims said.

ACCC takes action against Equifax, formerly Veda

The ACCC has today instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against credit reporting body, Equifax Pty Ltd (formerly Veda Advantage Pty Ltd), alleging breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The ACCC alleges that from June 2013 to March 2017, Equifax made a range of false or misleading representations to consumers, including that its paid credit reports were more comprehensive than the free reports, when they were not.  

2018 compliance & enforcement priorities

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.

Hyundai to improve consumer guarantees approach

The ACCC has today accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Hyundai to improve its compliance with consumer guarantee obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). 

Customers have automatic rights under the ACL, regardless of whether a problem with a new car is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, and may in fact be entitled to a better remedy under the consumer guarantees than a warranty.

39 per cent increase in consumer guarantee reports in 2017

More than 29,000 people reported consumer guarantee issues to the ACCC in 2017, with half noting problems getting remedies for faulty automotive, whitegoods or electronics products.

The ACCC is concerned by this growing trend, which shows a 39 per cent increase in reports about consumer guarantee issues when compared to the 21,000 received in 2016.

“It’s disappointing to see that more and more people are having issues enforcing their consumer guarantee rights,” ACCC Acting Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.