In the media

ACCC admits petrol price gouging probably taking place
The competition watchdog has outlined how it hopes to unravel the mystery of volatile petrol prices and uncover why it is so much cheaper to fill up in the city than in regional Australia. The chairman of the ACCC said regional consumers were probably right to feel they were being gouged by petrol retailers (16 January 2015).  More...

Coordinated and strategic” law breaking costs CFMEU & organisers $205,100
The Federal Court’s Justice White has penalised the CFMEU and 10 of its current and former officials a total of $205,100 for illegal activity on four Adelaide construction sites, describing their behaviour as “coordinated and strategic” (15 January 2015).  See FWBC statement: More...

Is cab app just an Uber cartel?
For the first time, large numbers of Australian users of Uber, the ride-sharing service that may yet pose an existential threat to the taxi industry, found themselves confronted with "surge pricing". But in the way in which its prices are set, Uber would seem to be acting more like a cartel than the existing taxi industry, which can only charge fares to a maximum set by state governments (10 January 2015).  More...

Updated franchise industry code of conduct comes into effect
Operators in the $144 billion franchise sector in Australia risk new, heavy fines if they breach an updated code of conduct. Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said Australians wanting to buy into a franchise would now have clearer information about the financial and legal risks, and expectations (01 January 2015). More...

Woolworths facing new supplier anger, ACCC to examine complaints
Coles is facing a payout after the Federal Court found the nation’s second largest supermarket chain deliberately and illegally misused its market power to squeeze small suppliers for money. The court verdict was welcomed by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, which has also warned its members about Woolworths seeking to recoup money for “profit gaps”, although it is not facing any charges (25 December 2014).  More...

Court finds Homeopathy Plus! vaccine claims misleading
The Federal Court has found that Homeopathy Plus! Pty Ltd (Homeopathy Plus!) and its director, Ms Frances Sheffield, engaged in misleading conduct and made false or misleading representations regarding the effectiveness of the whooping cough vaccine and homeopathic remedies as an alternative in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (23 December 2014).  More...

Cases

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Homeopathy Plus! Australia Pty Limited [2014] FCA 1412
CONSUMER LAW – Whether misleading, deceptive or false representations made on website about the effectiveness of whooping cough vaccine – Means of assessing efficacy and effectiveness of vaccine – Evidence based medicine – Bearing of context on characterisation of representations – Whether representations misleading, deceptive or false when read in context of an epidemic – Whether representation that vaccine was “short-lived” was misleading, deceptive or false given vaccine’s propensity to wane over time.

CONSUMER LAW – Whether misleading, deceptive or false representations made about the effectiveness of homeopathic treatments for the prevention of whooping cough – Whether representations about effectiveness of homeopathic treatments fall to be assessed against a homeopathic epistemological framework or orthodox medical science – Whether representations imply a reasonable basis in medical science.  CONSUMER LAW – Whether disclaimers erase misleading, deceptive and false nature of representations – Where disclaimer did not clearly bring the true position to the public’s attention.

CONSUMER LAW – Whether representations made in trade or commerce – Whether or not carried on for profit – Where representations said to be contribution to public debate or educational – Whether conduct has requisite commercial or trading character – Where conduct has dual character – Where representations not presented overtly in form of an advertisement.  EVIDENCE – Where expert reports do not comply with s 79 of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) – Precondition to admissibility of expert evidence – Failure to provide reasons for opinion and demonstrate connection with specialised knowledge – Whether the manner in which material might be presented in the field of expertise is relevant – Duty of legal representatives to ensure expert reports comply with rules of evidence and court practice directions. Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth) ss 3(1), 4, 19, 19A, 19D(1), 19D(4), 25.  More...

Contact Details

Melbourne

Howard Rapke, Partner
T: +61 3 9321 9752

E: howard.rapke@holdingredlich.com

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

Brisbane
Paul Venus, Partner
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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