Australia: Competition and Consumer Law - What's News - 29 February 2016

Last Updated: 11 March 2016
Article by Howard Rapke, Ian Robertson and Paul Venus

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2016

In the media

ACCC highlights cartels, Indigenous consumer protection, and agriculture in 2016 priorities
Chairman Rod Sims today announced the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's compliance and enforcement priorities.  In the area of competition law, the ACCC will continue to take a strong line on cartel conduct, anti-competitive conduct and practices, and where they can, misuse of market power (23 February 2016).  More...

Retailers of Adjustable Beds and Mobility Products Fined for Misleading Conduct
In an ACCC Media Release, it has been revealed that retailers Clews Holdings Pty Ltd, which supplies Seniors Plus products, and D Burnz Investments Pty Ltd (D Burnz), which supplies Better Living Australia products, have each paid $20,400 in penalties following the issue of two infringement notices to each company by the ACCC (23 February 2016).  More...

Airlines, taxis charging excessive credit card fees face crackdown under new ACCC powers
The laws equip the ACCC with new powers to enforce the ban on excessive surcharging, including the ability to gather information from those involved in the payments process and the authority to issue infringement notices against those engaging in excessive surcharging (22 February 2016).  More...   More...

The four contract clauses which show you're getting screwed
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says businesses need to closely review contracts in light of new laws offering small businesses protection against unfair contracts which were passed last week. The laws take effect on November 12, 2016, following a 12-month transition period (18 February 2016).   More...

ACCC v Australian Egg Corporation Limited [2016] FCA 69: Respondents Found Not Guilty of Alleged Cartel Conduct
In a recent decision handed down by the Federal Court of Australia, it has been found that: Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL); Farm Pride Foods Ltd (Farm Pride); and Ironside Management Services Pty Ltd (trading as Twelve Oaks Poultry) (Twelve Oaks Poultry)  did not attempt to induce a cartel arrangement, as alleged in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (16 February 2016).  More...

Productivity Commission review into the efficiency and competitiveness of the superannuation system
The Turnbull Government is today releasing the Terms of Reference for the first two stages of a Productivity Commission review into the efficiency and competitiveness of the entire superannuation system (17 February 2016).   More...

Small businesses scammed out of $2.2 million: ACCC figures
Scammers and unscrupulous businesses continue to target small businesses with data released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today showing small businesses have been scammed out of $2,284,798 over the last six months (16 February 2016).  More...

Petrol prices: ACCC asks service stations to explain high fuel prices
The competition regulator has asked Australia's major petrol retailers to explain their high retail margins, after its latest report found motorists were not fully benefiting from crude oil price falls (15 February 2016).  More...  More...

ASIC permanently bans financial adviser Darren Wise
In determining to ban Mr Wise from financial services, ASIC also took into account misleading and deceptive conduct by Mr Wise, involving the sale of a client's securities without their authorisation or knowledge(15 February 2016).  More...

In practice and courts, published reports

Productivity Commission: review into the efficiency and competitiveness of the superannuation system – Terms of Reference
The Productivity Commission is tasked to (i)develop criteria to assess the efficiency and competitiveness of the superannuation system and (ii) develop alternative models for a formal competitive process for allocating default fund members to products. The PC Terms of Reference can be found on the Productivity Commission website.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: Biannual Small business in focus report
This report, the eleventh in the series, highlights some of the ACCC's key work in the small business and franchising sectors between 1 July and 31 December 2015. It also contains the latest small business and franchising complaints data (16 February 2016).  More...

ACCC Small business in focus report
The ACCC has released its July-December 2015 Report on Small business, franchising and industry codes. The majority of complaints received by small business for that period relate to misleading conduct/false representations, consumer guarantees and product safety. Next on the list are competition issues, topped by misuse of market power, with 262 complaints from small business (up 30 on 2014 figures), exclusive dealing, with 212 complaints received and other competition issues generating 165 complaints.

Cases

Ambergate Limited v CMA Corporation Limited (Administrators Appointed) [2016] FCA 94
TRADE PRACTICES – applicant alleged misleading and deceptive conduct – applicant claimed reliance on public statements for purchases of shares in company – applicant claimed reliance on later public statements to retain shares in company – public statements connected with the issuing of shares is the provision of "financial services": section 52 of Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) not applicable – section 12DA of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) applied – section 1041H of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) applied – public statements made before the share purchases not misleading or deceptive – statements after the purchases of shares misleading and deceptive – applicant did not demonstrate it would have sold shares – applicant did not prove a resulting loss.  More...

Legislation

Commonwealth

Competition and Consumer Amendment (Payment Surcharges) Bill 2015
Passed the Senate 22/02/2016 The ban on excessive card surcharging will take effect this year.  If the ACCC forms the view that a merchant has engaged in excessive surcharging, they may issue an infringement notice including a penalty for listed corporations of up to 600 penalty units, currently $108,000, for each alleged contravention.  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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