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What's News in Competition & Consumer Law? – 19 September 2018

19 September 2018

#Competition & Consumer Law

What's News in Competition & Consumer Law? – 19 September 2018

In the media

'Not sure enforcement is the correct term': CommInsure negotiated 'punishment' with ASIC
The banking royal commission has revealed the corporate regulator gave the Commonwealth Bank's insurance arm the chance to change a media release and negotiate the consequences of misleading advertising (13 September 2018).  More...

CommInsure accused of 'serious misconduct' for misleading ombudsman
The Commonwealth Bank's life insurance arm is accused of "serious misconduct" at the royal commission because it misled the Financial Ombudsman Service during its investigation of a customer complaint (12 September 2018).  More...

Blatant profiteering': Qantas accuses airports of fee gouging
Consumers are paying the price for “blatant profiteering” by the nation’s airports, according to Qantas, which says their world-leading fees and earnings are proof new rules are needed to stop them abusing their monopoly positions (12 September 2018).  More...

Monopolist airports defend their price gouging
Hot on the heels of major Australian and New Zealand airlines demanding tighter regulations to curtail price gouging by Australia’s monopoly airport owners, these airports have hit back, penning a submission to the Productivity Commission’s (PC) inquiry into Australian airports resisting calls for greater regulation (11 September 2018).  More...  More...

AADL CEO Stephen Porges engaged in ‘misleading and deceptive’ conduct, ordered to pay $1 million
The new CEO of ADMA’s parent body, the Australian Alliance for Data Leadership, Stephen Porges, has been ordered to pay $941,703 in damages and interest, plus costs, after his actions in selling shares in a tech startup led him to behave in a “misleading and deceptive” manner towards the buyer (10 September 2018).  More...

Woolworths hit with $100m class action over shock downgrade
Woolworths is facing a potential $100 million payout to aggrieved shareholders who saw the value of their investments plunge when the supermarket delivered a shock downgrade to its profit outlook in 2015. The class action claim in the Federal Court alleges Woolworths had breached continuous disclosure obligations and engaged in misleading conduct (10 September 2018).  More...

'Congestion-free' claims removed from Aussie Broadband's NBN advertising
NBN provider Aussie Broadband has removed statements across its advertising which described its broadband services as “congestion-free” in response to concerns raised by the ACCC (7 September 2018).  More...

ACCC takes action against hearing aid retailers for misleading pensioners
The ACCC has commenced proceedings against hearing aid retailers Oticon Australia Pty Ltd and Sonic Innovations Pty Ltd, alleging that both businesses made false and misleading representations to pensioners in advertisements for hearing aids supplied under the Australian Government Hearing Services Program (6 September 2018).  More...

Financial services giant taken to court over fees for no service
The corporate watchdog has commenced Federal Court action against one of Australia’s largest financial services companies over alleged charging of fees for no service and “misleading” conduct (6 September 2018).  More...

ACCC launches investigation into 'fake' honey
The ACCC has launched an investigation into 'fake' honey after an investigation by 7.30 and Fairfax Media found Australia's biggest listed honey company, Capilano, and some of the country's largest supermarket chains were unwittingly selling "fake" honey. Capilano announced it wants to see a new Australian testing facility (6 September 2018).  More... 

In practice and courts

ACCC guideline updates
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published the following guideline updates:
Guidelines on misuse of market power (31 August 2018).

Collective bargaining class exemption: Discussion paper
The ACCC is seeking feedback in relation to a 'class exemption' to 'allow small businesses, agribusinesses and franchisees to negotiate collectively with their customers or suppliers, including franchisors. If granted, it would be the first class exemption granted by the ACCC under new powers it acquired as part of the Harper Reforms in November last year. Feedback on the draft discussion paper is invited until 21 September. See the ACCC Discussion Paper.

Cases

Adcock Private Equity v Porges [2018] NSWSC 1363
COMMERCE – misleading or deceptive conduct – where first defendant encouraged plaintiff to purchase shares in a start-up called “SecureOne” – where SecureOne was involved in potentially ruinous litigation – where first defendant had fallen out with the management of SecureOne – misleading or deceptive to portray the potential profitability and viability of SecureOne without disclosing those matters. COMMERCE – misleading or deceptive conduct – causation – ability to infer reliance and causation in appropriate cases – objectively viewed, plaintiff would not have made investment in SecureOne had the true position been disclosed – plaintiff entitled to judgment.

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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