Yazaki Corporation hit with record $46 million penalty for cartel conduct

Yazaki Corporation scored a record penalty for anti-competitive cartel conduct after an appeal by the ACCC. The original penalty was $9.5M. The new $46M penalty is the highest ever handed down under the Competition and Consumer Act.

The cartel conduct involved bid rigging in the supply of wire harnesses for motor vehicles and an agreement between two of the five main manufacturers worldwide, including their Australian subsidiaries.

So why the jump in penalties? Two main reasons. The original decision was based on two courses of conduct the appeal was based on five. Also, the original judge found that the maximum penalty for each course of conduct was $10 million, and the appeal court found it was actually $18 million.

Telstra default settings debacle

Telstra copped $10 million in penalties for making false and misleading representations about a third party billing service called Premium Direct Billing.

It wasn't clear that the service was set as a default, and it didn't require a PIN or sign-in. This meant that in many cases, customers ended up paying for digital content without even realizing they had paid for it.

Telstra has now stopped the service entirely and is refunding affected customers. The ACCC has also warned that it will be looking at third party billing services from other carriers to check if they are breaching the law.

Weight loss woes

10kg for $10 was not as good a deal for Jenny Craig as originally thought. It led to three infringement notices from the ACCC and a $38,700 penalty for alleged false and misleading representations.

The ACCC said that the ad was misleading because losing 10kg cost more than $10. Who'd have thunk. They also weren't crash hot about Jenny not disclosing that an employee appeared in a testimonial video. Oh, and they didn't quite get the fine print about consumer guarantees right either.

All in all, we reckon Jenny got off pretty lightly (Hah! Pun intended.)

Apple gets $9 million in penalties for misleading customers about faulty iPhones and iPads

Apple has been hit with $9 million in penalties for misleading customers about their consumer rights for faulty iPhones and iPads.

It started when an iOS update produced a mysterious `error 53' for some people, disabling their devices. Apple told customers that if they had taken the phone to a repairer that wasn't Apple, the customers were no longer entitled to a remedy (whether it be repair, replacement or refund).

This isn't Apple's first black mark over consumer rights. In 2013, Apple gave an enforceable undertaking after the ACCC expressed concern that some of their warranties and refund policies weren't quite in line with the law. Moral of the story? Customer rights don't disappear through wishful thinking.