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Inside track: Competition & Consumer

21 July 2021

#Competition & Consumer Law

Inside track: Competition & Consumer

In the media

Mystery trip books Top Deck a tour of Australian Consumer Law
An Office of Fair Trading investigation has seen a tour operator enter into an enforceable undertaking for alleged breaches of the Australian Consumer Law. The investigation found that Top Deck may have made false or misleading representations that its terms and conditions allowed it to book consumers into future travel arrangements without their authority (16 July 2021).  More...

'Nothing effective is being done': Business warns PM’s cheap gas push is falling short
Australian manufacturers are warning the federal government is failing to deliver on its promise of a “gas-fired” recovery from COVID-19 as rising prices of the fossil fuel on the east coast put factories and jobs at risk. The head of the ACCC, said spot prices were “volatile and would come back down”. The main concern for local buyers, was the rising price of LNG (15 July 2021).  More...

As Australia faces a rental crisis, is it time to re-introduce price caps
Mr Patterson Ross believes pricing controls are not a standalone fix but could work as part of a broader policy system. Industry and others say it’s time leaders and policymakers introduce regulatory measures to stop runaway price hikes like those seen in regional markets (15 July 2021).  More...

ACCC alleges SmileDirectClub misled consumers about health insurance reimbursement for clear teeth aligners
The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against SmileDirectClub Aus Pty Ltd and its US parent company, SmileDirectClub LLC (together SmileDirectClub) over alleged false and misleading statements about private health insurance reimbursement for its clear teeth aligners and associated treatment (13 July 2021).  More...

'Right to repair' movement growing in Australia, as Apple and others design products with shorter lifespans
No matter the country, price is one of the biggest factors for advocates of the movement. A lack of competition in the repair market means customers can't hunt around for a good deal. Consumer advocacy group CHOICE's campaigns director Erin Turner said competition was necessary to bring prices down (10 July 2021).  More...

Brownes Dairy pays penalties for alleged breaches of Dairy Code
Brownes Foods Operations Pty Ltd (Brownes Dairy) has paid penalties totalling $22,200 after the ACCC issued it with two infringement notices for allegedly failing to comply with the Dairy Code of Conduct last year (05 July 2021).  More...

Practice and Regulation

Geographical indications and the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement
Ian Zhou and Rob Dossor; Economic Policy Section: 2 July 2021
In current negotiations over an Australia-European Union Free Trade Agreement, the European Union wants Australia to extend geographical indication protection to 400 product names. If Australia agrees, Australian locally produced goods will be prohibited from using those protected names, with potentially significant costs to many Australian businesses.  More...

ACCC Consultation: Facebook advertisements
Closes 1 September 2021 - The ACCC is aware of advertisements on Facebook about cryptocurrency products featuring the name or image of an Australian public figure. These advertisements might look like articles or posts in your Facebook newsfeed. We are concerned that the advertisements may be false or misleading.
If you see one of these advertisements on Facebook, please take a screenshot and submit it to the ACCC via the link on this page.

ACCC Note: Screen scraping warnings not anti-competitive
The ACCC, responding to questions on notice as part of a parliamentary inquiry by the Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, said that “statements or warnings regarding potential security or safety risks associated with screen scraping and sharing passwords does not appear to have the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition.”
On 18 March 2021 the Senate agreed: That the resolution of appointment of the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology be amended as follows: That the committee present its final report on or before 30 October 2021.


Epic Games, Inc v Apple Inc [2021] FCAFC 122
PRIVATE INTERNATIONAL LAW — stay application — proceedings alleging contraventions of Pt IV of Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and s 21 of the Australian Consumer Law — where exclusive jurisdiction clause requires litigation relating to app developer agreement to occur in Northern District of California — whether there are strong reasons to refuse to grant the stay — whether there is a public policy that the proceeding should be heard in the Federal Court of Australia — whether clearly inappropriate forum — stay refused
In particular, Epic alleges that Apple has contravened s 46 which prohibits a corporation with a substantial degree of power in a market in Australia from engaging in conduct that has the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition, s 47 which prohibits a corporation from engaging in the practice of exclusive dealing, and s 45 which prohibits, among other things, a party from making a contract which has the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition.

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