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Medibank Private Limited successfully defends claims of misleading or deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct - Sep 2017

Justice O’Callaghan of the Federal Court of Australia delivered his judgment in the case of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) v Medibank Private Limited (Medibank) [2017] FCA 1006 on 30 August 2017. The Court found that Medibank did not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct, nor did it act unconscionably. Partner, Tom Griffith and Lawyer, Nisha Pereira discuss below.

Vocational Education and Training Industry Service Providers taught a lesson in the Federal Court - Jul 2017

Vocational education providers have been on the top of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) hit list. In the last two months alone, the Federal Court has ruled against three major service providers, Get Qualified Australia Pty Ltd, Acquire Learning and Careers Pty Ltd and Unique International College Pty Ltd. Penalties are yet to be decided in the case of Get Qualified and Unique. Acquire has been ordered to pay penalties of $4.5 million which is the ACCC’s second largest consumer protection penalty.

Thousands of consumers have suffered loss as a result of the misconduct by these major service providers. The ACCC are particularly concerned that unscrupulous door to door marketing practices previously used in the energy sector are now appearing in the education sector. This update, by Partner Tom Griffith and Lawyer Nisha Pereira will focus on the decision of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Unique International College [2017] FCA 727.

Landmark Decision in Competition Law in Australia - Dec 2016

On 14 December 2016 the High Court found in favour of the ACCC in proceedings concerning anti-competitive conduct by Flight Centre between the years 2005 and 2009.  Partner, Tom Griffith and Lawyer, Nisha Pereira discuss the judgment and its implications below.

Federal Court turns off the tap on drip pricing - Dec 2015

The Federal Court of Australia recently ruled that both Jetstar and Virgin engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and the making of false or misleading representations in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law, through a practice commonly referred to as “drip pricing”, in relation to some of their airfare promotions and advertisements. Associate, Tania Maystrenko and Law Clerk, David Derbyshire review the decision.

Reckitt Benckiser accepts targeted pain from ACCC - Dec 2015

In our March edition of Competition and Consumer News, we reported on proceedings that had been initiated by the ACCC against Reckitt Benckiser in relation to its marketing of Nurofen targeted pain relief products. Reckitt Benckiser has now admitted various contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law. Partner, Anne Freeman, provides an update.

Time to play fair! Unfair contract terms regime extended to small businesses - Dec 2015

Long gone are the days of “the contract is the contract”. Whilst many of us have always taken a “balanced” and “plain English” approach to drafting contracts, the Government has decided that there is a need to introduce laws to now make sure that businesses take this approach, as Partner Andrea Pane and Lawyer, Thomas Patereskos explain.

‘Free range’ egg claims on the boil - Dec 2015

On 14 September 2015, the Federal Court found RL Adams Pty Ltd (trading as Darling Downs Fresh Eggs) guilty of engaging in misleading conduct and making misleading representations by marketing its products as free range eggs when they were not. Partner, Anne Freeman and Law Clerk, David Derbyshire review the decision, which is one of the latest in a recent string of cases that the ACCC has successfully prosecuted against primary producers in an effort by the regulator to put a stop to the use of false credence claims in the Australian market place. 

ACCC v Dateline Imports Pty Ltd: Make sure you have reasonable grounds, even if it is true! - Oct 2015

There is increasing focus on manufacturers to show they have reasonable grounds to make representations to consumers about ingredients in their products. Manufacturers must ensure testing of products support any representations made in respect of those ingredients. If manufacturers do not hold reasonable grounds for making certain representations about ingredients in a product, it could constitute misleading and deceptive conduct. This is the case even where those representations turn out to be true. Senior Associate, Valerie Blacker and Lawyer, Kelly Fraser examine the recent case of ACCC v Dateline Imports Pty Ltd which illustrates the difficulty in making representations about complex chemical products where experts disagree on the existence of harmful ingredients and sophisticated testing methods cannot conclusively rule out the existence of such chemicals.

Flight Centre v ACCC: thought-crimes and legal fiction - Oct 2015

The ACCC’s loss of appeals in two cases against intermediaries for price fixing (Flight Centre and ANZ/Mortgage Refunds) appears to resolve two conflicting first instance decisions of the Federal Court of Australia. The Full Court was highly critical of the ACCC’s economic arguments, going so far as to suggest that markets are not a feature of the real world but are intellectual constructs devised by economists, and that the Court will decide cases based on its own view of commercial reality. Consultant, George Raitt considers what guidance may be drawn from the decisions for commercial arrangements between suppliers of goods and services and intermediaries such as agents and re-sellers.

L’Oréal’s quest for preliminary discovery was “worth it” - Oct 2015

Earlier this month, Justice Beach in the Federal Court handed down orders for preliminary discovery for L’Oréal Australia Pty Ltd against BrandPoint Pty Ltd. The discovery relates to a prospective claim for misleading or deceptive conduct or false representations. Such conduct or representations were said by L’Oréal to be embodied in an email sent by BrandPoint marketing its PuraSonic “sonic facial cleansing brush”, a direct competitor to L’Oréal’s own Clarisonic range. Partner, James Lawrence and Law Clerk, Robert Guzowski review the decision.

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