Australia: Competition and Consumer Law - What's News - 19 January 2016

In the media

Voiteck pays $10,200 penalty for alleged false or misleading representations to retirement village residents
The ACCC issued the infringement notice because it had reasonable grounds to believe that Voiteck had made false or misleading representations to residents of Lifestyle SA retirement villages about their right to choose a telecommunications services provider (15 January 2016). More...

Harvey Norman franchisee ordered to pay penalties of $52,000 for false or misleading representations about consumer rights
The Federal Court has ordered a Harvey Norman franchisee, Bunavit Pty Ltd (Bunavit), to pay a total of $52,000 in penalties for making false or misleading representations regarding consumer guarantee rights, in proceedings brought by the ACCC (14 January 2016). More...

Glencore considers appeal over Newcastle port pricing
Mining giant Glencore is considering appealing the Federal Government's decision to not have the national competition watchdog regulate prices at the Port of Newcastle (12 January 2016). More...

Consumer watchdog alleges Darwin electronics company preyed on sick
A Darwin electronics trader will face the Federal Court over claims it misled vulnerable patients and families at the Royal Darwin Hospital (08 January 2016). More...

Petrol price information sharing proceedings resolved
The ACCC has resolved Federal Court proceedings it brought against Informed Sources and several petrol retailers after Informed Sources and the retailers agreed to make pricing information available to consumers at the same time the retailers receive it. The ACCC believes that greater transparency of petrol prices and the behaviour of petrol retailers across Australia will reduce the potential for any adverse effect of the Informed Sources service on competition (23 December 2015). More...

Safety Compliance Pty Ltd and individuals ordered to pay penalties for misleading small businesses
The Federal Court has ordered that Safety Compliance Pty Ltd (Safety Compliance) paypenalties totalling $515,000 for making false or misleading representations to small businesses in connection with the supply of safety wall charts and first aid kits (23 December 2015). More...

NRM found guilty of contempt for making representations about Advanced Medical Institute treatments
The Federal Court has found NRM Corporation Pty Ltd and NRM Trading Pty Ltd guilty of contempt of court. NRM owns and operates the business known as the Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) (18 December 2015). More...

In practice and courts, published reports

Submissions: Interactive Gambling Amendment (Sports Betting Reform) Bill 2015
On 26 November 2015 the Senate referred the Interactive Gambling Amendment (Sports Betting Reform) Bill 2015 for inquiry and report. The closing date for submissions is 12 February 2016. The reporting date is 12 May 2016. More...

Options to strengthen the misuse of market power law: Discussion Paper
The purpose of this discussion paper is to seek the views of interested parties on options to strengthen the misuse of market power provision (section 46) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA). Submissions on this discussion paper close on 12 February 2016. More...

Cases

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Bunavit Pty Ltd [2016] FCA 6
CONSUMER LAW – misleading or deceptive conduct – consumer guarantee provisions – representations about the existence, exclusion or effect of a guarantee, right or remedy – admitted contraventions – agreed orders and pecuniary penalty – whether proposed relief appropriate. Australian Consumer Law (Cth), ss 18, 29(1)(m), 54, 55, 56, 58, 59, 61, 224, 232(1), 232(4). Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) ss 4B, 139B(2). More...

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Safety Compliance Pty Ltd (in liq) (No 2) [2015] FCA 1469
CONSUMER LAW – contraventions of Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and Australian Consumer Law by corporation – where company in liquidation – whether pecuniary penalty should be imposed on company for general deterrence. CONSUMER LAW – contraventions of Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and Australian Consumer Law by individuals – whether injunctions restraining individuals from engaging in similar conduct for a period should be ordered – whether disqualification orders should be made – whether pecuniary penalties should be ordered. Australian Consumer Law ss 18, 29(1)(a), (d), (h), (l), 224, 232, 248. Trade Practices Amendment (Cartel Conduct and Other Measures) Act 2009 (Cth). More...

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Reckitt Benckiser (Australia) Pty Ltd (No 4) [2015] FCA 1408
CONSUMER LAW – misleading or deceptive conduct – conduct liable to mislead the public as to the nature, the characteristics, or the suitability for purpose of the Nurofen specific pain products – representations that Nurofen products are specifically formulated to treat migraine, tension headache, back pain, and period pain – where each product contains the same active ingredient and the same formulation – appropriate terms of corrective notices and advertising, declarations, and injunctions. Australian Consumer Law (Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) ss 18, 33. More...

Casenote: Medical treatments advertising: Contempt of court
The ACCC had previously brought proceedings against a number of corporate respondents trading under the name Advanced Medical Institute and some individual respondents. The ACCC's case at trial, which was largely accepted by the trial judge, was that the corporate respondents had engaged in unconscionable conduct in their marketing and sale of medical treatments for premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. 17 December 2015 saw the publication of reasons in a subsequent action in which the ACCC alleged that two of the respondents had breached the orders made by North J on 22 April 2015, and for the imposition of fines for contempt. In Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v ACN 117 372 915 Pty Limited (in liq) (formerly Advanced Medical Institute Pty Limited) [2015] FCA 1441 the Court at [94] held that the two NRM entities (the 6th and 7th respondents) had breached paragraph 9(c)(i) of the April 2015 orders and was guilty of contempt of court by the publication of certain radio, television and internet statements. The matter was adjourned for later consideration of penalties.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v ACN 117 372 915 Pty Limited (in liq) (formerly Advanced Medical Institute Pty Limited) [2015] FCA 1441
CONTEMPT OF COURT – whether orders were "clear and unambiguous" and hence capable on founding contempt charge – construction of orders – whether regard may be had to reasons of trial judge – whether respondents' advertisements and website statements were statements as to "efficacy" of treatments - Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), Sch 2, Australian Consumer Law, s 21. More...

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v A Whistle & Co (1979) Pty Limited [2015] FCA 1447
CONSUMER LAW – false or misleading representations about goods or services – where respondent published and attempted to induce and induced franchisees to publish fabricated testimonials in respect of the respondent's cleaning services. CONSUMER LAW – joint submissions on final relief – determination of the appropriate pecuniary penalty – whether declaratory and injunctive relief should be granted – whether publication of a corrective notice should be ordered. Australian Consumer Law (Cth) ss 29, 224, 232, 246; Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) Sch 2; Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) s 191. More...

Legislation

Commonwealth

Competition and Consumer Amendment (Payment Surcharges) Bill 2015
A Bill for an Act to amend the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.The objects of this Bill are to ensure that payment surcharges are not excessive; and reflect the cost of using the payment methods for which they are charged (03 December 2015). More...

Interactive Gambling Amendment (Sports Betting Reform) Bill 2015
The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 ('the Act') in relation to online sports betting. This Bill implements harm minimisation measures to help individuals who are engaged in online sports betting better control their gambling. The Bill also establishes an Interactive Gambling Regulator who will monitor and enforce restricted wagering services' compliance with the Act. (Introduced Senate 25 November 2015). More...

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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Authors
Ian Robertson
 
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