Posts Tagged ‘ACCC’
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has ruined Christmas for eleven Harvey Norman franchisees accused of misrepresenting consumer rights. On 19 December, when most people will be counting sleeps til Christmas, the franchisees will be in the Federal Court in Sydney as orders are made for progress of the case.
ACCC says that the eleven retailers gave consumers false information about their rights when goods weren’t up to scratch. It says that staff rolled out old red herrings like:
Some of these statements can sometimes be valid in some circumstances. But where goods simply aren’t of reasonable quality when supplied, traders can’t use excuses to push complaining customers away. Australian law says they have rights to a remedy, and no store can limit or exclude them.
A familiar story
Of course, there have been no adverse findings against any of the eleven yet. But ACCC’s allegations have a familiar ring. Just last year, discount computer chain MSY was caught making up its own law on consumer warranties. According to MSY:
According to the Federal Court, they could pay a $203,500 penalty and submit to a five year court restraint for misleading consumers about their rights.
ACCC: It’s a campaign
ACCC has made no secret of the fact that it has these kinds of misrepresentations in its legal gun sights. “Consumer Guarantees has been identified as a national priority by ACL Regulators and is a matter of particular concern for the ACCC with more than 16,000 contacts from members of the public to the ACCC’s Infocentre so far this year” said its Chairman Rod Sims this week. And its website now states that “The ACCC is conducting a number of investigations into other large manufacturers and retailers for alleged misrepresentations of consumer guarantee rights in breach of the ACL.” And to prove the point, ACCC launched the same kind of legal action last month against Hewlett-Packard Australia Pty Ltd.
A good website or policy is not enough
Many businesses think they can cover off legal risk with paperwork. It’s true that a well drafted contract or a comprehensive trade practices compliance policy document is a key tool in managing risk. But they’re almost never enough, if they aren’t backed up in practical ways.
Harvey Norman’s website has clear and accurate information about what remedies consumers are entitled to if goods are not satisfactory. If ACCC’s case is right, it means that the franchisees were operating in disregard of the information on their own group website. That would indicate a serious disconnect between what the group’s head office knows (ie that consumers have bedrock rights) and what’s filtered through to staff on the shop floor. And that kind of disconnect can be very expensive.
Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
The ACCC today (14 February 2012) announced that Telstra Wholesale ADSL services are now declared under an interim access determination.
The determination made under the Consumer and Competition Act 2010 has fixed the price Telstra can charge its wholesale ADSL customers, the effect of this is that wholesale customers are now benefiting from lower pricing.
The price reductions will see competitors such as iiNet better able to compete with Telstra’s retail product offering.
This will only serve to bring more scrutiny on NBN pricing and the benefits of cost effective ADSL services in the market place.
Saturday, October 22nd, 2011
The ACCC has announced that it intends to appeal the recent Federal Court decision which found that Google was not liable for misleading and deceptive conduct in publishing Adwords advertisements.
In its recent press release the ACCC said:
On appeal the ACCC has indicated that it will be challenging this finding by the Court with respect to 4 advertisements. The ACCC also indicated:
This is a significant case as there is a lack of Australian case law on Google Adwords advertisements, which are now one of the most commonly used advertisement methods for Australian businesses, with some businesses spending thousands of dollars per week.
Thursday, October 6th, 2011
The ACCC has failed in its bid to have the Federal Court declare that the manner in which Google differentiates sponsored links to organic search results was misleading and deceptive within the meaning of the Australian Consumer Law.
The ACCC had argued that by failing to adequately distinguish advertisements from search results, Google had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.
While the Court failed to agree with the ACCC, Google has since changed the labeling of advertisements from ‘sponsored links’ to ‘Ads’ in line with comments by the Court, that the labeling was unclear, but not misleading and deceptive within the sense of the Australian Consumer Law.
Saturday, September 18th, 2010
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has released a draft report into the pricing model of fixed line telephony services, proposing radical price reductions, which is likely to see Telstra’s fixed line revenues fall even further.
The ACCC has suggested a move away from the traditional wholesale pricing model based Retail Price less Retail Cost, instead the ACCC has suggested an alternative model:
The new model has suggested an across the board charge of $20 per month for line rental down from the two consumer and business rates that exist, while the ACCC has suggested a reduction of wholesale local call costs from 17c to 7c, a massive drop, which is likely to anger Telstra. Below we have extracted the draft pricing for the period 2011 to 2014:
Draft indicative prices
For ULLS services, the Bands relate to different geographical areas.