The ACCC has again shown that it is committed to acting against cartel conduct, large or small, with two recent cases showing that neither the size of an organisation nor its ignorance of the law will be seen to excuse this kind of conduct.
On 6 November 2009, the ACCC obtained orders in the Federal Court (by consent) against the Australian Karting Association (AKA), two of its officers and a number of kart clubs in regional New South Wales for:
- fixing the minimum prices for the hiring of kart circuits by non-AKA members, and
- requiring all negotiations regarding the hiring of kart circuits from AKA members to be conducted by the AKA.
The AKA was also ordered to pay a pecuniary penalty of $10,000. The court accepted that the ‘[e]ngagement in the conduct was innocent’.
The Federal Court has also recently imposed penalties of over $1 million against two Queensland truck retailers and three sales managers found to have engaged in price fixing and market sharing in relation to the sale of light and medium trucks in South-East Queensland. Again, it was accepted that the individuals involved did not understand the relevant law or the legal consequences of their actions.