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Consumer Protection

It takes a special kind of b***s to continuously break one of the most widely known business laws in Australia and to keep doing it for months. Worse, when it stopped breaking it, it didn't tell anyone it was doing so and to its customers continued to act as if it was in force. What is it? Resale Price Maintenance (yes, the very thing that kept Amazon out of Aus for so long because book publishers were exempted from the law).

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Big Warehouse Spare Parts is an amazing, if sometimes expensive, service for the supply of parts for all kinds of things, including hard to find items. But its business practices have landed it in hot water with Australia's Consumer and Competition Commission.

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When our sister publication Little Blue Green Planet wrote about the ACCC's case about flushable wipes, it dealt with the legal issues from behind a curtain of humour (see here). But the ACCC has decided to appeal. Is it mad or vindictive?

What did the wet wipe say to the toilet paper? "I flush, therefore I'm flushable." Kimberley-Clark - this one's for you.

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The growth of courier services, dedicated to food delivery, has in some markets become dominated by companies that began with on-line car and driver hire services, often mis-named "ride hailing." Their power in the market has enabled them to define the terms that they demand in contracts with food providers (often called, but often not, "restaurants"). At the pointy-end of such services is, in a significant number of markets, Uber, a company which has, since inception, displayed a disregard for local laws in countries which it has entered. It has also been widely criticised for the terms it imposes on the drivers and motorcycle riders it engages. As this case shows, it has also displayed a willingness to impose unfair contract terms on those it does business with.

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