Consumer rights

Alinta Energy misled consumers on discounts

Alinta Energy (Alinta) has undertaken to compensate thousands of Victorians for making misleading electricity price comparisons which the ACCC considered were likely in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

Between 9 December 2017 and 28 February 2018, Alinta’s advertisements compared increases in its competitors’ standing or undiscounted tariff rates to decreases in Alinta’s discounted tariff rates.

iPhone and iPad misrepresentations cost Apple Inc $9 million in penalties

The Federal Court ordered Apple Inc (Apple US) to pay $9 million in penalties for making false or misleading representations to customers with faulty iPhones and iPads about their rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The ACCC took action against Apple US and Apple Pty Ltd (Apple Australia) following an investigation of complaints relating to ‘error 53’. This error disabled some iPhones and iPads after owners downloaded an update to Apple’s ‘iOS’ operating system.

Jenny Craig pays penalty for “10kg for $10” ads

Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centres Pty Ltd (Jenny Craig) has paid $37,800 in penalties following the ACCC issuing three infringement notices for alleged false or misleading representations in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

From December 2017 to February 2018, Jenny Craig represented in television advertisements people could lose up to 10kg of weight for a $10 program fee, without adequately disclosing customers also had to purchase food at an additional cost.

Fitbit misled customers about faulty products

The ACCC has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from Fitbit (Australia) Pty Limited (Fitbit) to amend information they provide to customers about their consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

From November 2016 to March 2017, Fitbit told customers that its warranty against faulty products was only available for one year. Fitbit also represented that faulty products would be only replaced for the remainder of the calendar year or 30 days, whichever was longer.

Wilson Security to refund $740,000 for services not provided

Wilson Security Pty Ltd (Wilson Security) will refund 320 Western Australian customers a total of $740,000, after charging for security patrols that were not provided in breach of Australian Consumer Law.

Wilson Security was contracted to provide internal premise security patrols. However in many cases, when replacing scheduled internal security patrols that had been missed, Wilson Security conducted external perimeter security patrols that are generally cheaper and less time consuming.

Optus to pay $1.5 million for misleading customers during NBN transition

The Federal Court has ordered Optus Internet Pty Ltd (Optus) to pay penalties of $1.5 million for making misleading representations to customers about their transition from Optus’ HFC network to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

From October 2015 to March 2017, Optus told around 14,000 of its customers that their services would be disconnected (in as little as 30 days in some cases), if they did not move to the NBN. Under the terms of its contract, Optus could not force disconnection within the timeframe it claimed.

HP to compensate printer customers

Customers of HP PPS Australia Pty Ltd (HP) who bought certain models of HP printers without being informed non-HP ink cartridges may not work in them could be eligible for compensation, the ACCC announced today.

HP has given the ACCC a court-enforceable undertaking to compensate customers who were unable to use non-HP ink cartridges due to an undisclosed technology in their printers.

The technology, known as “Dynamic Security Feature” (DSF), was designed to prevent non-HP ink cartridges from being used in these HP printers.

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.