ACCC issues ACCCount for January to March 2019 quarter

ACCCount details the ACCC’s enforcement, compliance, merger, adjudication, economic regulation, market studies, advocacy and international activities.

During the quarter:

  • The ACCC commenced proceedings against STA Travel Pty Ltd for allegedly making false or misleading claims relating to its MultiFLEX Pass product.
  • The ACCC achieved the following penalties:
    • $1.05 million against Cryosite Limited for engaging in cartel conduct in its asset sale agreement with Cell Care Australia Pty Ltd. This represents the ACCC’s first gun-jumping case, where Cryosite ceased competing with Cell Care prior to the finalisation of the proposed sale
    • $10 million against Optus for misleading consumers
    • $2.604 million against Ultra Tune for breaching both the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Australian Consumer Law
    • $900,000 against Click Energy for making misleading claims
    • $250,000 against Activ8me for making false or misleading misrepresentations.
  • The Country Care Group Ltd, its Managing Director, Rob Hogan, and former employee, Cameron Harrison, were committed to stand trial in the Federal Court of Australia on all criminal cartel charges laid against them in February 2018.
  • The ACCC’s 2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy and Priorities were launched on 26 February 2019. New priorities identified include consumer guarantees on high value electrical and whitegoods products, consumer and competition issues arising from the pricing of essential services, customer loyalty schemes, collection and use of consumer data by digital platforms, and emerging issues in advertising and subscription service practices on social media platforms, with a focus on younger consumers.
  • The ACCC announced its 2019 Product Safety Priorities, including the Takata airbag recall, button batteries, quad bikes, online product safety, unsafe sleeping products, interconnected devices, and supporting the development of a general safety provision and a product safety incidents database.
  • The ACCC decided not to oppose the proposed acquisition of Dial-a-Dump Industries Pty Ltd by Bingo Industries Limited, and discontinued the review of the proposed Siemens AG and Alstom SA global merger.
  • The ACCC granted authorisation to the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils to invite tenders for the processing of hard waste.
  • ACCC publications released during the quarter included:
    • the Consumer Data Right draft rules
    • resources to educate consumers and providers of home care services
    • Communication ideas: reaching consumers affected by the compulsory Takata recall
    • Airport Monitoring Report 2017–18
    • Communications Market Report 2017–18
    • the fourth Measuring Broadband Australia report
    • the December quarter petrol monitoring report
    • the first report on the new electricity monitoring inquiry
    • a report on price monitoring of menstrual products following removal of GST.
  • The ACCC hosted the 2019 Ruby Hutchison Memorial Lecture and National Consumer Congress.
  • The ACCC continues to monitor and oversee compliance with the compulsory Takata airbag recall. We released comprehensive state-by-state data detailing the progress of the Takata recall in January 2019 and will continue to update the data on a quarterly basis.
  • The ACCC undertook surveillance across 626 retail outlets to gauge the effectiveness of, and compliance with, particular safety regulations. As a result of this proactive surveillance program, 10 products across the following product categories were recalled by their respective suppliers due to non-compliance: baby dummies, combustible candle holders, trolley jacks, vehicle jacks, support stands for vehicles and portable ramps for vehicles.
  • The ACCC was awarded the 2019 Global Competition Agency of the Year at the Global Competition Review (GCR) 9th Annual Awards Ceremony held in Washington, DC, on 26 March.

To read the full report, see: ACCCount 1 January to 31 March 2019

Published date: 
8 May 2019