Australia: Competition and consumer law - what's news - 24 November 2015

Last Updated: 29 November 2015
Article by Howard Rapke, Ian Robertson and Paul Venus

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2017

In the media

Robert Paul Davies sentenced to community service for non-compliance with ACCC notice
In 2010, the ACCC issued a notice as part of the ACCC's investigation into allegations that Natural Food Vending made false or misleading representations in the promotion and sale of vending machine business opportunities. The Federal Court found that Mr Davies intended to, and did, aid and abet the failure of Natural Food Vending to comply with the section 155 notice (20 November 2015).  More...

Court finds that Jetstar and Virgin Australia engaged in misleading 'drip pricing' practices
The Federal Court has found that Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd (Jetstar) and Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd (Virgin) contravened the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations about the price of particular advertised airfares (17 November 2015).  More...

ACCC urges businesses to check that their contracts are fair
The ACCC is urging businesses to closely review the standard form contracts they use when dealing with other businesses. A new law will take effect on 12 November 2016, following a 12-month transition period, that offers small businesses protections against unfair contract terms offered by other (usually larger) firms (17 November 2015).  More...

Federal Court finds Chrisco's lay-by agreements contained unfair contract term
The Court found that between January 2011 and December 2013, Chrisco made a false or misleading representation to consumers that they could not cancel their lay-by agreement after making their final payment, when the ACL provides that consumers have the right to terminate a lay-by agreement at any time before delivery of the goods (11 November 2015).  More...

Former Perth financial adviser banned for dishonest conduct
A Perth financial adviser has been permanently banned from the industry after an investigation by the corporate watchdog revealed she contravened financial services laws (09 November 2015).   More...

In practice and courts, published reports

Recent developments on liability for cartel facilitators
Author: James Gould, Incompetition; 30 October 2015
This post examines some recent developments on liability for cartel facilitators in Europe and Australia.  More...

Regulating unilateral supermarket misconduct as customer/acquirer of goods and services
Author: Prof Stephen Corones; Australian Business Law Review, Vol 43, Part 5, 2015
The article is on the regulation of unilateral supermarket misconduct as a customer/acquirer of goods and services with particular attention given to ACCC v Coles and the effectiveness of s 46 as a 'consumer protection measure'.  More...


Make It Mine Finance Pty Ltd, in the matter of Make It Mine Finance Pty Ltd (No 2) [2015] FCA 1255
CONSUMER LAW – consumer credit – purported "lease" of consumer goods to Centrelink recipients – conduct as a credit provider – application of the National Credit Code (Sch 1 to the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth)) – engaging in credit activity without appropriate registration or licence – non-disclosure of key requirements in credit contracts – breach of responsible lending requirements – fixing of pecuniary penalty.  National Consumer Credit Protection (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Act 2009 (Cth) s 4(1), items 4(1), 6(1) of Pt 2 of Sch 2, item 37 of Pt 4 of Sch 2.  National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (Cth) ss 3, 6 (item 1), 28, 36, 128, 129, 130, 131, 166, 167, 187, 202, 209(1), Sch 1 (National Credit Code) ss 4, 5, 9, 11, 17, 111, 112, 113, 116, 120, 169, 204(1).  More...

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Jetstar Airways Pty Limited [2015] FCA 1263
CONSUMER LAW – whether, by material presented on low-cost airlines' websites, mobile sites and in subscription emails, the airlines falsely represented that certain specific fares displayed on their websites, mobile sites and in their subscription emails were firm fares which were not subject to increase by reason of the imposition of a booking and service fee – whether, in the event that the low-cost airlines made the alleged representations, or some of them, they contravened ss 18(1), 29(1)(i) and 29(1)(m) of the Australian Consumer Law.  More...

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Chrisco Hampers Australia Limited [2015] FCA 1204
CONSUMER LAW – Australian Consumer Law s 24(1) – meaning of an unfair term – relevant considerations – whether a term is unfair if it requires a consumer (unless the consumer opts-out) to pay money to a supplier by instalments for goods that might never be ordered without offering any financial benefit such as a discount on the goods or any interest if the money is refunded – meaning of a "significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations arising under the contract".  CONSUMER LAW – Australian Consumer Law s 96(3) – meaning of the supplier's obligation to ensure that the amount of a termination charge is not more than the supplier's reasonable costs in relation to the agreement.  CONSUMER LAW – Australian Consumer Law s 97(3) – meaning of a "lay-by" agreement.  More...

JM & PM Holdings Pty Ltd v Snap-on Tools (Australia) Pty Ltd [2015] NSWCA 347
TRADE PRACTICES – misleading and deceptive conduct – Franchising Code of Conduct – franchise agreement – whether cash flow projection provided prior to entry into the franchise agreement contravened Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), s 51AD or s 52 – whether any loss or damage suffered by reason of contraventions – no error shown in conclusion of primary judge that no loss or damage suffered by reason of conduct alleged to have been in contravention – appeal dismissed.  More...



Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms) Bill 2015
Amends the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 and Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to extend the unfair contract term protections to businesses with less than 20 employees agreeing to standard form contracts valued at less than a prescribed threshold.  Assent: Act no: 147 Year: 12 November 2015.  More...

Legislation affected

Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Act 51/1974)
Proposed amendment by Treasury Legislation Amendment (Small Business and Unfair Contract Terms) Bill 2015.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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