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Inside track: Competition and Consumer Law

19 March 2019

#Competition & Consumer Law

Inside track: Competition and Consumer Law

In the media

Activ8me to pay $250,000 in penalties and refund customers for misleading conduct
The Federal Court has ordered penalties of $250,000 against internet provider Australian Private Networks Pty Ltd (trading as Activ8me) for making false or misleading representations and not displaying a single price when advertising its internet services. The Court has also ordered that Activ8me offer to refund setup fees and allow affected customers to exit or switch plans without charge (15 March 2019).  More...  

Country Care cartel case committed for trial in Federal Court
The charges laid against Country Care, Robert Hogan and Cameron Harrison on 14 February 2018 relate to alleged cartel conduct involving assistive technology products used in rehabilitation and aged care, including beds and mattresses, wheelchairs and walking frames. The matter will now be heard in the Federal Court of Australia at a later date (13 March 2019).  More...  

Black & White Cabs fails in bid of interlocutory mandatory injunction
Black & White Cabs made application for an interlocutory mandatory injunction requiring Regent Taxis to continue to provide it with booking and dispatch services. Questions arose as to whether there was a prima facie case of breach of contract, contravention of s 46 or contravention of s 47 of the CCA. Justice Jackson considered that the applicant's proof to this point was not sufficient to grant the injunction; 'the balance of convenience favours not granting an interlocutory injunction until trial' (12 March 2019).  More...  

Adani accused of 'deceptive conduct' in campaign criticising state government
The Australian consumer watchdog and the corporate regulator have been asked to investigate “patently false” statements made by Adani in its recent advertising campaign criticising the Queensland government, stating Adani’s advertising constitutes “misleading and deceptive conduct” (08 March 2019).  More... 

Jack de Belin sues NRL over new rules that see players facing serious criminal charges stood down
Troubled player Jack de Belin is now suing the NRL for misleading and deceptive conduct and challenging its power to suspend him. He is also demanding the NRL pay for an advertising campaign, pending a successful outcome, to repair his reputation (07 March 2019).  More... 

Relief needed for manufacturers battling high gas prices
The high cost of gas poses an imminent threat to east coast manufacturers, making them internationally uncompetitive and increasing the likelihood they will wind up or relocate their operations, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said (05 March 2019).  More... 

The challenges and opportunities of premium markets in agriculture
ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said processors and retailers are increasingly dealing directly with farmers to ensure consistent supply of higher value products, and bypassing the more traditional agricultural markets. This means farmers cannot easily compare offers from different processors, and are therefore in a weakened bargaining position in their price negotiations (04 March 2019).  More...  

Labor takes aim at price parity clauses for hotels
The ALP has announced that, if elected, it would ensure Australia's accommodation providers can set their own prices on personal websites, regardless of price parity clauses with online booking platforms, including Expedia and Booking.com (12 March 2019).  More...  

Ramsay Health Care case - surgeon taped meetings
The hearing in the ACCC's misuse of market power and exclusive dealing case against Ramsay Health Care commenced on 25 February. On 8 March the Court heard that a surgeon recorded one of the meetings central to the ACCC's case (8 March 2019).  More... 

Practice and regulation

Economic regulation of airports draft report
This draft report was released on 6 February 2019. The current form of economic regulation remains fit for purpose although more scrutiny of Australia’s four busiest airports is justified to ensure prices paid by airlines and passengers do not lead to monopoly profits, and questions whether some clauses in contracts between airports and airlines are anticompetitive. You are invited to examine the draft report and to make written submissions by 25 March 2019.  More... 

ACCC discussion paper: electricity monitoring
The ACCC has released a discussion paper relating to how it will conduct its new role of monitoring and reporting on supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market. Submissions now closed, sought on three key areas. The first report is due to the Treasurer on 31 March 2019. View discussion paper here

Cases

Black & White Cabs Pty Ltd & Ors v Regent Taxis Limited [2019] QSC 50
TRADE AND COMMERCE – COMPETITION, FAIR TRADING AND CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION – RESTRICTIVE TRADE PRACTICES – MISUSE OF MARKET POWER – SUBSTANTIAL DEGREE OF POWER – whether a prima facie case for breach of s 46 or s 47 of the Competition and Consumer Act existed – where proof of substantial lessening of competition not sufficient.

Contacts:
Melbourne

Howard Rapke, Managing Partner, Melbourne
T: +61 3 9321 9752
E: howard.rapke@holdingredlich.com

Sydney
Ian Robertson, National Managing Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0401
E: ian.robertson@holdingredlich.com

Brisbane
Paul Venus, Managing Partner, Queensland
T: +71 7 3135 0613
E: paul.venus@holdingredlich.com

Disclaimer
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this publication is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. We are not responsible for the information of any source to which a link is provided or reference is made and exclude all liability in connection with use of these sources.

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