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Inside track: Competition and Consumer Law

05 March 2019

#Competition & Consumer Law

Inside track: Competition and Consumer Law

In the media

Target and Baby Bunting fined less than $70,000 for selling “unsafe” baby strollers for years
Retail chains Target Australia and Baby Bunting have together been fined just $63,000 for selling “unsafe” convertible baby strollers for years. Both businesses have admitted they likely “contravened the Australian Consumer Law” and marketed the products in “a manner which the ACCC considers was misleading” (28 February 2019).  More...  

ASIC just banned the Reffind IPO advisor for 3 years
ASIC has banned Mark Hinsley, a director of Foster Stockbroking, from providing financial services for the next three years. It follows an investigation into Hinsley’s conduct in connection to the 2015 IPO of Reffind, a cloud-based software company. The investigation found that Hinsley engaged in “misleading and deceptive conduct” and breached his disclosure obligations under the Corporations Act (27 February 2019).  More... 

GetSwift directors "irrefutably deny" ASIC's deceptive conduct claims
The directors of embattled startup GetSwift have denied claims made by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), alleging the company of misleading or deceptive conduct. ASIC is seeking penalties from GetSwift, Macdonald and Hunter, and that the directors be prohibited from managing a corporation for such period as the court sees fit (25 February 2019).  More... 

No technical difficulties, just non-supply
A Morningside businessman was ordered to pay over $60,000 in fines and compensation after being found guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 22 February 2019 on four counts of accepting payment and failing to supply goods and two counts of making misleading representations under the Australian Consumer Law (25 February 2019).  More...  

Retail Food Group breached consumer law in $400,000-plus franchise bungle, Court finds
Franchise giant Retail Food Group (RFG) breached Australian Consumer Law (ACL) by misleading two Michel’s Patisserie franchisees about a Townsville store in 2012, a Queensland court has ruled. RFG has become the third franchisor to be prosecuted for ACL breaches this year, but this time, it wasn’t the ACCC spearheading the case (21 February 2019).  More...  

Five Star Car Sales Pty Ltd - Commencement of action
Consumer Affairs Victoria allegations include that Five Star’s business was being carried on in a dishonest or unfair manner and that the director of the licensed company, Mr Bo Li, 31, of Camberwell, is not a fit and proper person to be a director of a licensee, and the licensee (that is, the company) showed our inspectors a false and misleading document (21 February 2019).  More... 

New laws to amplify ASIC's penalty powers
Corporate regulator ASIC will soon be able to deal harsher civil penalties and criminal sanctions to corporate criminals, after a significant bill passed the Senate in February. The new legislation increased maximum prison penalties for the most serious offences, including breaches to director’s duties, false or misleading disclosure, and dishonest conduct, to 15 years (16 February 2019).  More... 

In practice and courts

ACCC communications market report 2017-18
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is required to report to the minister annually on competition in the Australian telecommunications sector and price changes for telecommunications services in Australia (28 February 2019).  More... 

Annual address to the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA), ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, launched the ACCC's 2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy
In relation to competition policy Sims noted the following: The ACCC aims to have 2-3 criminal cartel investigations to conclude and prosecutions to commence this year and misuse of market power and concerted practices will be a particular focus, with Sims expressing confidence that proceedings will be instituted under these provisions this year. View the ACCC 2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy here. Please click here to view more. 

ACCC newsletter: Misuse of market power
The ACCC has released its second 'Competition Law Newsletter', this time focussing on Misuse of market power: the law and the ACCC's enforcement focus (18 February 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

Initial Coin Offerings
This issues paper forms part of Treasury’s review into Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Feedback gathered from the submission process will inform subsequent advice to the Government.  More... 

Cases

Mackinnon as plaintiff representative of 153 plaintiff group members v Partnership of Larter, Jones, Miraleste Pty Ltd t/as USG Partner and Johnson, t/as "STC Sports Trading Club" (No 7) [2019] NSWSC 103
Proceedings may not continue against second defendant. Misleading or deceptive conduct established in relation to fifth and twelfth defendants.
CONSUMER LAW – Misleading or deceptive conduct – whether fifth and twelfth defendants made representations about scheme which were misleading or deceptive – whether those defendants liable to investors on that or other bases.
BANKRUPTCY – Jurisdiction and powers of court – no leave obtained under s 58(3)(b) of Bankruptcy Act 1966 – whether claims made in proceedings are for a provable debt.
BANKRUPTCY – Procedure – whether continued prosecution of proceedings involves taking a fresh step in the proceedings.
PARTNERSHIP – Generally – what constitutes partnership – whether partnership is limited when partnership agreement not registered.
PARTNERSHIP – Actions by and against partners – actions and proceedings against firms and individual partners – partnership conducting sports trading business – scheme said to be fraudulent, masterminded by twelfth defendant – second and fifth defendants named as partners – investment of group members lost.

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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