Contracts

ACCC to focus on franchisors' disclosure in the food services sector

Café, restaurant and take away food services industries will be the target of the ACCC’s next round of Franchising Code compliance checks.

The ACCC has responsibility for regulating the Franchising Code of Conduct in Australia, which includes conducting an active compliance check program.

“The ACCC receives more franchising code related reports from café, restaurant and take-away food franchisees than any other sector, and for this reason franchisors operating in this sector will be the target of our next round of checks” Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

Former Murray Goulburn MD Gary Helou to pay $200,000 penalty

The Federal Court has ordered former Murray Goulburn Co-operative Managing Director Gary Helou to pay $200,000 in penalties for being knowingly concerned in Murray Goulburn’s false or misleading claims about the farmgate milk price it expected to pay dairy farmers during the 2015-16 milk season.

“The penalty imposed against Mr Helou reflects his seniority at Murray Goulburn and involvement in misleading representations about the farmgate milk price,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter amends contract terms

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Limited (WCB) has altered terms in its milk supply agreements and milk supply handbook following engagement with the ACCC regarding potentially unfair contract terms.

WCB’s contracts with farmers contained terms that allowed it to unilaterally vary the milk price and other milk supply terms, with the farmer unable to terminate the milk supply agreement early without incurring a financial penalty.

Wisdom to remove unfair contract terms

The ACCC has accepted a court enforceable undertaking from home builder Wisdom Properties Group Pty Ltd (Wisdom) to remove contract terms contained in its standard home building agreements which are unfair under the Australian Consumer Law.

From October 2008, Wisdom’s Home Building Agreement contained non-disparagement clauses that allowed it to control or prevent any public statements such as online reviews, made by customers about its services.

Businesses remove unfair contract terms before new law

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s new report into potentially unfair contract terms details its review of 46 contracts across seven industries, which resulted in a range of businesses making changes to their small business standard form contracts.

The ACCC will begin enforcing the new law this week [Nov 12], when consumer protections against unfair contract terms are extended to include up to 2 million Australian small businesses.

New law on unfair contract terms to provide protections for farmers and agriculture businesses

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is urging businesses in the agriculture sector to review the standard form contracts that are provided to farmers and other small businesses. 

From 12 November 2016 a new law comes into place that will protect farmers and small businesses from unfair contract terms.

How collective bargaining can benefit farmers and small businesses

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Deputy Chair Michael Schaper has today launched a new guide for small businesses and farmers on the potential benefits of collective bargaining.

A collective bargaining arrangement allows two or more competing businesses to jointly negotiate with a supplier or a customer over terms, conditions, and prices. Where the ACCC is satisfied that the arrangement provides an overall public benefit, it can allow conduct which may otherwise be prohibited by the Competition and Consumer Act.