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ACCC

Optus Internet Pty Limited and Optus Mobile Pty Limited (Optus) have been ordered by the Federal Court to pay AUD6.4 million in penalties for making
misleading claims about home internet disconnections to consumers, following proceedings brought by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC)

CoNet Section: 

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).

CoNet Section: 

The global airbag scandal involving TAKATA airbags just won't go away. In Australia, BMW, GM Holden, Honda, Mitsubishi and Toyota have been trying to contact some 20,000 car owners to replace the defective equipment but have had no response. Now the government has stepped in. "do not drive these cars at all," it says.

Australia is cancelling the debts of students of a large failed education provider that once had government backing. It's also obtained massive penalty and restitution orders. But there is a fly in the ointment.

FCRO Subsection: 

In the past year, two of Australia's most high profile departments have undergone so-called "rebranding exercises." ASIC and the ACCC have changed their logos. Was it worth it?

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This morning, Australia's Medibank has learned that it is being prosecuted after self-reporting its discovery that some of its claims handlers had rejected claims that were both covered and valid, despite already having identified cases and arranged compensation and called for any policyholders who think they may have had claims improperly dismissed to contact the company for assistance.

BIScom Subsection: 

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.

CoNet Section: 

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.

CoNet Section: 

When the drains backed up in a city centre sports block, the cause turned out to be a mix of rubber and fabrics, paper and plastic: wet wipes, a variety of tissue papers, sanitary pads, disposable (haha) nappies, Q-tips, various forms of bodily output, plasticised paper (burger wrappers) and condoms were to blame. It wasn't a fatberg, as sewer techs call the stuff they routinely have to remove, but the effect was the same. If disposable nappies aren't actually disposable by any sensible definition of the term, what about using "flushable?" That's a case that has just come to court.

Australia is big. Seriously big. It is also empty. Seriously empty. With an estimated 90% of its population clustered into a handful of coastal cities (and some of those being small compared to Sydney and Melbourne), the cost of doing business can be disproportionately high in provincial and rural areas. One might think that would favour the internet and, for non-perishable, non-urgent things that's probably true although, as in many countries, the cost of delivery dramatically ramps up the cost of products in sparsely populated areas. What happens when towns become too small to support reasonable returns for businesses? Logic says "close up or combine." Australian regulators question that policy.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has begun proceedings in the Federal Court against Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited (Sony Europe).

 

The complaint relates to limitations on warranty for Sony's online sales of PlayStation products that appear on its website and have been notified to Australian consumers in dealings with them.

It's far, far more complicated than the ACCC suggests and for global retailers it's a major threat.

Following the release of market sensitive information last week (see Embarrassment for regulator with premature release of market sensitive information) there's an apology, of sorts. Is it fair dinkum or a feeble excuse?

CoNet Section: 

How does your life insurance company compare to others when it comes to handling claims? Now, if you are in Australia, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have produced data comparing insurance companies' performance and launched a tool to help policyholders make comparisons.

BIScom Subsection: 

STA Travel, which readers of a certain age will remember as a student-only bucket shop in the 1970s, has mutated but still focuses on the younger (that is those who have yet to reach a certain age) traveller. But, the authorities in Australia say that STA Travel began, in 2011, to market a product that has earned the company some AUD12m but mislead consumers who have paid more than STA Travel said they would. Proceedings have been issued in civil court.

CoNet Section: 

"Many people are surprised to learn that it is not illegal to sell unsafe goods in Australia. Many think there’s already a law that says goods have to be safe. Well, there isn’t, but there should be," says Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

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