Consumers

Court finds that Birubi Art misled consumers over fake Indigenous Australian art

The Federal Court has found that Birubi Art Pty Ltd (Birubi) made false or misleading representations that products it sold were made in Australia and hand painted by Australian Aboriginal persons, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

From July 2015 to November 2017 Birubi sold over 18,000 boomerangs, bullroarers, digeridoos and message stones to retail outlets around Australia.

These products, despite featuring designs associated with Australian Aboriginal art and words such as ‘Aboriginal Art’, ‘genuine’, and ‘Australia’, were made in Indonesia.

Lloyds Auctioneers pays penalty for excessive payment surcharges

Lloyds Auctioneers and Valuers Pty Ltd (Lloyds) has paid penalties totalling $37,800 after the ACCC issued three infringement notices for alleged breaches of the excessive payment surcharges law.

From September 2017 to March 2018, Lloyds charged customers a 2.25% surcharge when making credit or debit card payments online for auction items purchased.

The ACCC considered these surcharges were excessive because they were higher than Lloyds’ cost of processing those payments by as much as 1.43%.

Optus misled customers over ‘Direct Carrier Billing’ charges

The ACCC has commenced proceedings against Optus, alleging it made false or misleading representations to consumers in relation to its third-party billing service known as ‘Direct Carrier Billing’ (DCB).

Optus has admitted that it made false or misleading representations in contravention of the ASIC Act, and has agreed to apply jointly with the ACCC for orders from the Federal Court.

Equifax (formerly Veda) to pay $3.5 million in penalties

The Federal Court has ordered that Equifax Australia Information Services and Solutions Pty Ltd (Equifax) pay penalties totalling $3.5 million for misleading and deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct in relation to credit report services following joint submissions by Equifax and the ACCC.

Equifax admitted it breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) in 2016 and 2017, when its representatives made false or misleading representations to consumers during phone calls.

Wine grape market study

On 26 September 2018, the ACCC announced it would conduct an in-depth review of the Australian wine grape industry and identify any market failures or trade practices issues that may be preventing the functioning of competitive markets or resulting in detriment to wine grape growers.