Australia must do all it can to align the interests of business and society through sound laws that address some of the more damaging consequences of market power, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said today.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra on ‘Tackling Market Power in the Covid-19 Era’, Mr Sims said it was crucial for Australia to tackle the issue of market power as it sought to recover economically from the pandemic and deal with the implications of an ever-growing digital economy.
The Federal Court has ordered Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited (Sony Europe) to pay $3.5 million in penalties for making false and misleading representations on its website and in dealings with Australian consumers about their Australian Consumer Law (ACL) rights.
The Federal Court has ordered that Bupa Aged Care Australia Pty Ltd (Bupa) pay $6 million in penalties for making misleading representations and wrongly accepting payments for extra services not provided or only provided in part to residents at 20 aged care homes.
The Court has also ordered Bupa by consent to compensate all affected current and past residents within 12 months. Bupa has already commenced paying compensation to affected residents and estimates that it will pay around $18.3 million in total.
The ACCC has welcomed the announcement that Flight Centre will stop charging customers hundreds of dollars in cancellation fees in order to get a refund for travel cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flight Centre will refund thousands of customers who, from 13 March, were charged $300 per person to get a refund for a cancelled international flight or $50 for a domestic flight.
TEG Live Pty Limited (TEG Live) has committed to refunding over $5 million to about 5000 consumers who bought approximately 20,000 tickets to watch basketball games featuring the USA men’s national basketball team in August 2019, after providing a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC.
The games in which the USA national team played the ‘Boomers’, the Australian national basketball team, on 22 and 24 August 2019 in Melbourne and the Canadian national basketball team on 26 August 2019 in Sydney, were promoted by TEG Live from March 2018.
The ACCC has issued advice for consumers and businesses on their rights and obligations if events, flights or travel services are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), or if people wish to cancel their travel plans.
If events, flights or other travel services such as cruises are cancelled, the ACCC expects refunds or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher will be offered in most circumstances.
For the first time, the majority of hospital treatment policies held by Australians now contain exclusions, the latest ACCC annual report into the private health insurance industry has found.
More than 57 per cent of policies held by Australians contain exclusions, up from about 44 per cent in the previous year.
Improvements to customer loyalty schemes and broader legislative reforms are required to protect consumers using loyalty schemes, according to the ACCC’s final report into customer loyalty schemes released today.
The report recommends loyalty schemes, such as frequent flyer, supermarket and hotel operators, better inform consumers, improve their data practices and stop automatically linking members’ payment cards to their loyalty scheme profiles. It also calls for broader changes to consumer and privacy law.