The ACCC recently commenced Federal Court proceedings against Cabcharge Australia Limited (Cabcharge) for alleged breaches of sections 45 and 46 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (TPA), which respectively prohibit entering into arrangements that substantially lessen competition and the misuse of market power. Cabcharge is a major supplier of products to the taxi industry, including payment products, processing services for non-cash taxi fares and taxi meters.
The ACCC alleges that Cabcharge used its power in the non-cash payment processing services and products markets to refuse to enter into agreements with competing suppliers. The agreements allegedly would have allowed Cabcharge's payment products to be processed through alternative EFTPOS terminals. The ACCC also alleges that Cabcharge used its market power for anti-competitive purposes in the supply of taxi meters and fare schedule updates either below cost or free of charge. Cabcharge is also alleged to have entered into an arrangement with Townsville Taxis to acquire their charge account business and approximately 130 rival EFTPOS terminals and replace them with Cabcharge EFTPOS terminals.
The ACCC is seeking various remedies including declarations that Cabcharge's conduct contravened the Act, pecuniary penalties and a mandatory trade practices compliance program. We will keep you updated on the case’s progress through the Federal Court.