In the media

Discount coupon website Spreets fined $600,000 for misleading customers
An Australian company offering online coupons has been ordered to pay a $600,000 fine for misleading customers. The Federal Court has imposed the fine on the website Spreets over deals offered between June 2011 and April 2012 (24 April 2015).  More...

Garuda narrowly avoids paying ACCC court costs, despite win
The competition watchdog has been spared from paying the bulk of national airline Garuda Indonesia's costs, despite its failed bid to sue the airline for illegal air cargo price fixing, thanks to the carrier's bolshie approach to the case and damning cartel conduct (24 April 2015).  More...

China province fines Mercedes Benz $56m for price fixing
Chinese authorities fined Mercedes-Benz 350 million yuan ($56 million) on Thursday for violating anti-monopoly laws and price fixing, investigators said. The case comes against a backdrop of sweeping investigations into foreign firms in China in sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals and baby formula to autos (23 April 2015).  More...

Harper Review recommendations on competition a bitter pill for pharmacies
Competition Policy Review boss Ian Harper has warned the pharmacy and taxi industries to jettison anti-competitive behaviour or risk going out of business (23 April 2015).  More...  More...

Federal Court finds Advanced Medical Institute engaged in unconscionable conduct
The Federal Court today declared that Advanced Medical Institute (AMI), NRM Corporation and NRM Trading Pty Ltd (NRM) had engaged in unconscionable conduct in promoting and supplying medical services and medications (22 April 2015).  More...

ACCC chairman warns of gaps in cartel laws
At the speech to CEDA on 23 April, the ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, warned of gaps in cartel laws.  More...

ACCC lets EU do heavy lifting on Google competition investigation
Following a lengthy investigation, the European Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Google. The SO set out the EC's preliminary view that Google has abused its dominant position in breach of Article 102 TFEU by favouring its own comparison shopping product in its search results. ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, indicated that they are monitoring what the EC is doing but are not planning their own investigation at this stage (16 April 2015).  More...  More...  More...

ACCC investigating allegations of misuse of market power in relation to Telstra's wholesale 4G services
The ACCC is investigating claims Telstra is misusing its market power by 'refusing to wholesale its superfast 4G services to rival telcos. That telco announced earlier this year that the target for offering 4G wholesale services was "no later than June 2016" (13 April 2015).  More...

Cases

Verrocc Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v ACN 117 372 915 Pty Limited (in liq) (formerly Advanced Medical Institute Pty Limited) [2015] FCA 368
CONSUMER LAW – Unconscionable conduct prohibited by statute – unfair contract terms – medical clinic – doctors prescribing medications and treatment for male sexual dysfunction over the telephone – statutory unconscionability not limited to the unwritten law –informed by equitable principles – not limited to circumstances where an individual is disadvantaged by the conduct – unconscionability involves degree of moral taint – reference to morality not to be substituted for the words of the section – unconscionability is conduct against conscience – conduct will not be unconscionable only because it is unfair or unreasonable – relevance of community standards and industry codes – finding of unconscionable conduct not to be based on personal morality of judicial officer – whether refund term was an unfair contract term – s 23 and s 24 Australian Consumer Law – whether third respondent aided, abetted, counselled, or procured, or was knowingly concerned in or party to the alleged contraventions. Legislation: Australian Consumer Law, Sch 2 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) ss 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 232, 239, 240, 243, 246, 250.  More...

Traderight (NSW) Pty Ltd v Bank of Queensland Ltd [2015] NSWCA 94
TRADE AND COMMERCE – Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) and related legislation – consumer protection – misleading or deceptive conduct – negotiation and formation of franchise agreements under which franchisees operate branches as agents of a bank – statements made by the bank as to volumes of future business – whether these were statements as to what franchisees will likely achieve or statements regarding hypothetical possibility – silence – bank did not volunteer information regarding business volumes achieved by existing franchisees – whether maintaining of silence on that matter was misleading or deceptive conduct.  More...

Fletcher v Nextra Australia Pty Ltd [2015] FCAFC 52
CONSUMER LAW – promotional flyer published by franchisor of newsagent franchise – online blog article critical of flyer – online blog authored by director and co-owner of rival franchise group – s 18  Australian Consumer Law  – misleading or deceptive conduct – whether publication of article on the blog was conduct in trade or commerce – whether the allegedly misleading or deceptive representations, as pleaded, were established at trial – whether the alleged representations were as to matters of opinion which were honestly held.  More...

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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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