On 8 September 2011, the ACCC announced that Energy Watch Pty Ltd had undertaken to the Federal Court that it would not make particular representations in any media until the ACCC’s proceedings against it are finalised or until a further order of the Court. Pursuant to the undertaking Energy Watch:
- cannot represent that it compares the rates of all of the energy retailers available in a particular area unless the comparison is of all of the rates of all energy retailers in the area;
- cannot represent that it compares the rates of many of the energy retailers available in a particular area unless it makes a comparison of the rates of a majority of energy retailers available in the area;
- cannot represent that it will save persons a specific amount without also stating the number and type of customers who have obtained that savings and the period during which it was obtained; and
- must remove or cover certain statements on billboards.
On 26 August 2011, the ACCC instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Energy Watch Pty Ltd and Mr Benjamin Polis for alleged misleading or deceptive conduct and making false representations. The ACCC alleged that Energy Watch had contravened the Australian Consumer Law in representations in a variety of media comparing the rates of all or many of the energy retailers in relevant geographic areas; and stating the amount consumers have saved or will save by using Energy Watch. Rob Sims stated on 13 September that the ACCC issued proceedings after reviewing a number of energy comparison websites and issued substantiation notices to Energy Watch requiring them to back up the claims made in their advertising.