In the media
ACCC appeals Medibank decision
The ACCC has lodged a Notice of Appeal from the Federal Court’s decision on 30 August 2017 dismissing the ACCC’s proceedings against Medibank Private Limited (Medibank). The ACCC had alleged that Medibank made false, misleading or deceptive representations and engaged in unconscionable conduct in relation to its failure to notify Medibank members and members of its subsidiary brand, ahm (21 September 2017). More...
Tabcorp bid for Tatts hits a hurdle as ACCC has a win in court
Tabcorp's high stakes gamble to avoid ACCC scrutiny comes unstuck as the Federal Court says it needs another look at the $11bn merger with Tatts. The ACCC's appeal centred on what it argued was the faulty reasoning of the ACT such as the merger would not cause a substantial lessening of competition. The Tribunal [also] made an error when it failed to compare the likely future state of competition both with and without the proposed acquisition in order to assess competitive detriment," Mr Sims said (20 September 2017). More... (ACCC) More...
Big bank mergers: ACCC wants 'four pillars' policy examined
The consumer watchdog wants the "four pillars" policy that prevents big bank mergers to be put under the microscope, saying there is an argument it insulates the banks from fierce competition. Arguably the effect of the “four pillars” policy in addition to the implicit guarantee and prudential measures entrenches the large banks’ strong position in relevant markets (20 September 2017). ACCC submission to PC inquiry More... (ACCC) More...
Fuel price data can benefit motorists and retailers
Speaking at the Asia Pacific Fuel Industry Forum, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims outlined how fuel price data from websites and apps empower price-sensitive consumers. In August 2014 the ACCC took action against Informed Sources, a subscriber service which allowed major petrol retailers to exchange fuel price data across all their sites on a near real-time basis. By doing so, the Informed Sources service had the effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition (13 September 2017). More...
Rod Sims contradicts Coalition MPs' claims AGL is abusing market power
The head of Australia’s competition watchdog has quashed accusations from government MPs that AGL is misusing its market power by refusing to sell the Liddell power station to a rival – but says a lack of competition in the energy sector is inflating power prices for consumers (13 September 2017). More...
In practice and courts, published reports
NSW Fair Trading: Inquiry into NSW retirement villages
As part of its four-point plan to improve retirement village living, the NSW Government has commissioned Kathryn Greiner AO to lead an inquiry into the NSW retirement village sector. The inquiry will review the protections offered to residents, and ensure that Fair Trading has the necessary powers to make sure retirement village operators are complying with the law. The investigation will look at concerns raised about the fairness and transparency of business practices of retirement villages in NSW. Make an online submission More...
The final report and recommendations from the inquiry are due to be completed by 15 December 2017.
Otta International Pty Limited v Asia Pacific Carbon Pte Ltd  NSWSC 1267
AUSTRALIAN CONSUMER LAW – misleading and deceptive conduct pursuant to s 18 of Sch 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) – claim for damages – where plaintiff entered into two loan agreements based on representations made by defendants– whether representations made to induce plaintiff to advance monies under the loan agreements were false, misleading or deceptive – where fourth defendant was bankrupt and fact of bankruptcy not disclosed – where fourth defendant represented himself as an “executive chairman” – HELD – failure of fourth defendant to disclose fact of bankruptcy was misleading and deceptive – third defendant involved in contravention – representation by fourth defendant as “chairman” misleading and deceptive as he was not entitled to hold office during bankruptcy– plaintiff has established that it suffered loss because of conduct of third and fourth defendants – but for misleading and deceptive conduct plaintiff would not have advanced monies under the loan agreements.
Glowell International Pty Ltd v Biggin & Scott Commercial Pty Ltd (Building and Property)  VCAT 1342
Lease of retail premises; allegations of misleading and deceptive conduct by managing agent and landlord; determination as to liability and assessment of damages; claim by applicant for interest assessed; reimbursement of fees under s115B of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic) and costs reserved for determination after further submissions.
Howard Rapke, Managing Partner, Melbourne
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