In the media

Life Biotech Pty Ltd fined $106,560 for alleged non-compliance with requests for information and face mask samples The TGA has issued eight infringement notices totalling $106,560 to Sydney-based company Life Biotech Pty Ltd for allegedly failing to provide information and face mask samples to the TGA when required to do so, and for providing false and misleading information (28 January 2021). More...

Lack of competition in ad tech affecting publishers, advertisers and consumers The ACCC concludes there is a “real lack of competition choice and transparency” in the industry “which will ultimately impact the prices paid by consumers”. The Interim Report sets out a series of options for addressing issues in ad tech, calling for feedback by 26 February 2021 (28 January 2021). More...

SMSF firm wins court appeal in dispute over sale of client list The Supreme Court of Western Australia has upheld an appeal initiated by an SMSF advice firm against an estate involving misrepresentations that were made in relation to the sale of a client list, alleging misleading or deceptive conduct in trade or commerce against Wotif Pty Ltd, which traded as “Prosperity Partners” (25 January 2021). More...

Tech companies should be forced to reveal 'rampant' COVID-19 misinformation, health experts say Misleading social media content should be brought to light so the full extent of the problem can be recognised, a coalition of Australian tech and health experts have argued (25 January 2021). More...

40,000 join historic class action against QLD electricity generators More than 40,000 Queenslanders will be represented in a class action against two state owned electricity generators, making it one of Australia's largest ever claims of its kind. The class action, alleges Stanwell and CS Energy manipulated the electricity pricing system and artificially inflated consumers' electricity bills (20 January 2021). More...

Kogan in trouble: Consumer advocates say $310,800 spam email fine is too small Consumer advocate Gerard Brody, chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre, said the tougher penalties don’t apply to the full breadth of consumer protections, including the Spam Act, which imposes smaller penalties that increase for repeat offenders (20 January 2021). More...

Practice and Regulation

ACCC Note: Screen scraping warnings not anti-competitive The ACCC, responding to questions on notice as part of a parliamentary inquiry by the Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, said that “statements or warnings regarding potential security or safety risks associated with screen scraping and sharing passwords … does not appear to have the purpose or effect of substantially lessening competition.” On 24 April 2020, the reporting date was extended from the first sitting day in October 2020 to 16 April 2021.

Guidelines on Part XICA - Prohibited conduct in the energy market These guidelines set out how the ACCC will interpret Part XICA of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) and they explain the general approach the ACCC will take in investigating alleged contraventions of Part XICA (prohibiting certain conduct involving retail pricing, financial contract markets and electricity spot markets). Part XICA will be in effect from 10 June 2020 to 1 January 2026. More...

Cases

Bush v The George Events Pty Ltd (Civil Claims) [2021] VCAT 20Large wedding reception booked for April 2020 – intervention of Covid-19 –new date in January 2021 booked – two written contract documents – finding that the reception as planned cannot take place lawfully in January 2021 – relevance of the narrow pleadings by the applicants in the light of Teen Entertainment Enterprise Network Pty Ltd v A & H Natoli Pty Ltd [2020] VSC 388 – claims under Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012 sections 184(2)(c), (d), (g) & (k) – allegation of misleading conduct contrary to section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law.