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Contract and consumer law news

 

Contract and consumer law news | 2019

NewspaperFor earlier news see:

See also new cases page for a chronological list of recent cases dealing with contract and consumer issues.

 

2019

Cyber - data right

29 March 2019 - Consumer Data Right draft rules out

The ACCC has published draft rules fo rthe Consumer Data Rights.

'The CDR will allow consumers to easily obtain access to their banking data and have it transferred to service providers who they trust.'

See ACCC, Consumer Data Right draft rules out (Media release, 29 March 2019)

Draft rules can be found here: CDR draft rules (banking)

Submissions on the draft may be made until 10 May 2019: visit consultation hub.

 

Plane

28 March 2019 - ACCC alleges STA Travel made false or misleading claims

The ACCC has instituted proceedings against STA Travel Pty Ltd alleging it made false or misleading claims in relation to its MultiFLEX Pass product

View STA Travel in court for alleged misleading MultiFLEX Pass advertisements (ACCC media release, 28 March 2019)

 

Pendant

22 March 2019 - Pandora to fix consumer rights practices

Pandora has provided the ACCC with a court-enforceable undertaking to review consumer rights policies and staff training after admitting the were likely to have contravened the ACL by making misleading representations about consumer guarantees.

View Pandora to fix its consumer rights practices (ACCC media release, 22 March 2019)

View Pandora Jewelry Pty Limited, Enforceable Undertaking

 

Computer

15 March 2019 - Activ8me to pay $250,000 in penalties and refund customers for misleading conduct

The Federal Court has ordered Activ8me to pay penalties of $250,000 for making false or misleading representations and for not displaying a single price when advertising services. It has also ordered Activ8me to offer to refund setup fees and allow customers to exist or switch plans free of charge.

View Activ8me to pay $250,000 in penalties and refund customers for misleading conduct (ACCC media release, 15 March 2019).

View Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Australian Private Networks Pty Ltd (trading as Activ8me) [2019] FCA 384

 

Toaster

14 March 2019 - ACCC Chair renews calls for prohibition on sale of unsafe goods

In a speech to the National Consumer Congress today, ACCC Chair Rod Sims called for a law prohibiting the sale of unsafe goods.

The ACCC estimates the annual cost of injury and death resulting from unsafe consumer products is at least $5 billion.

View ACCC media release.

View Rod Sims 'Announcement of Product Safety Priorities' (Speech to National Consumer Congress, 14 March 2019)

 

Shopping online

12 February 2019 - ACCC priorities 2019

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, has outlined the ACCC's priorities for 2019 in his annual address to the Committee for Economic Development Australia. In relation to consumer matters Sims indicated that compliance with consumer guarantees will be a renewed focus in 2019. Customer loyalty schemes will be a new priority and the ACCC will alo be advocating for the introduction of a prohibition of unfair contract terms.

View ACCC 2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy (see also summary version).

View Rod Sims, '2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy' (speech to Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA), 26 February 2019.

View ACCC, 'ACCC 2019 focus on consumer guarantees and anti-competitive practices' (Media Release, 26 February 2019).

 

Shopping online

26 February 2019 - ACCC priorities 2019

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, has outlined the ACCC's priorities for 2019 in his annual address to the Committee for Economic Development Australia. In relation to consumer matters Sims indicated that compliance with consumer guarantees will be a renewed focus in 2019. Customer loyalty schemes will be a new priority and the ACCC will alo be advocating for the introduction of a prohibition of unfair contract terms.

View ACCC 2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy (see also summary version).

View Rod Sims, '2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy' (speech to Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA), 26 February 2019.

View ACCC, 'ACCC 2019 focus on consumer guarantees and anti-competitive practices' (Media Release, 26 February 2019).

 

Shopping online

26 February 2019 - ACCC priorities 2019

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, has outlined the ACCC's priorities for 2019 in his annual address to the Committee for Economic Development Australia. In relation to consumer matters Sims indicated that compliance with consumer guarantees will be a renewed focus in 2019. Customer loyalty schemes will be a new priority and the ACCC will alo be advocating for the introduction of a prohibition of unfair contract terms.

View ACCC 2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy (see also summary version).

View Rod Sims, '2019 Compliance and Enforcement Policy' (speech to Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA), 26 February 2019.

View ACCC, 'ACCC 2019 focus on consumer guarantees and anti-competitive practices' (Media Release, 26 February 2019).

Data in the lens

25 February 2019 - Consumer data right expanding

The ACCC has published a consultation paper to consider how to best apply the Consumer Data Right in the energy sector:

ACCC, 'Consumer Data Right widening from banking to energy sector' (25 February 2019)

ACCC consultation paper: Data access modes for energy data (25 February 2019)

See also ACCC Consumer data right project homepage

Washing car

11 February 2019 - Court finds former car wash franchisor Geowash acted unconscionably

The Federal Court has found that former hand car wash and detailing franchisor, Geowash, acted unconscionably, made false or misleading statements and failed to act in good faith in breach of the Franchising Code of Conduct in relation to sale and marketing of franchises.

View ACCC media release (11 February) (see also: ACCC media release (31 May))

For media see: Matthew Elmas, 'Car wash franchise found to have acted ‘unconscionably’ towards franchisees, as ACCC cracks whip' (Smart Company, 11 February 2019)

6 February 2019 - Optus penalised for misleading conduct

The Federal Court (Justice Murphy) has ordered optus to pay a penalty of $10m for misleading customers in relation to its third-party billing service. Justice Murphy declared that:

The Respondent (Optus), between 1 April 2014 and 24 August 2018, by applying charges for Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) content to the accounts of customers who had unintentionally purchased DCB content without their knowledge or consent (Non-consenting Customers):

(a) in trade or commerce, in connection with the supply or possible supply of financial services, represented to Non-consenting Customers that they had agreed to acquire that DCB content when they had not; and

(b) thereby made a false and misleading representation that Non-consenting Customers had agreed to acquire services in contravention of s 12DB(1)(b) of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act 2001 (Cth).

His Honour ordered payment of a $10m pecuniary penalty in relation to these contraventions and further ordered that Optus pay the ACCC's costs.

See ACCC, 'Optus penalised $10 million for misleading customers over digital purchases' (Media Release, 6 February 2019)

Case VID1346/2018 (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Optus Mobile Pty Limited) (Melbourne)

18 January 2019 - Ultratune faces penalty for breach of Franchising Code and ACL

The Federal Court has imposed a penalty of more than $2.6m against Ultra Tune Australia Pty Ltd for breaching the Franchising Code of Conduct and the Australian Consumer Law.

See ACCC, 'Ultra Tune to pay $2.6 million penalty' (Media Release, 18 January 2019)

Case: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Ultra Tune Australia Pty Ltd [2019] FCA 12 (Browmwich J)

See further Frances Wheelahan, Robert Ceglia and Alice Goudie, 'ACCC v Ultra Tune: Three Lessons for Franchisors' (Corrs Chambers Westgarth, 14 February 2019)

3 January 2019 - Kleenheat pays penalties over gas discount claims

Wesfarmers Kleenheat Gas Pty Ltd has paid more than $25,000 in penalties after the ACCC issued infringement notices for alleged false and misleading representations about gas prices.

See ACCC, 'Kleenheat pays $25,200 penalties over gas discount claims in WA' (Media Release, 3 February 2019)