Consumers

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.

Court finds training college’s conduct to be misleading and unconscionable

The Federal Court has found training college Cornerstone Investments Aust Pty Ltd, trading as Empower Institute (Empower), engaged in unconscionable and misleading or deceptive conduct, and made false or misleading representations when enrolling consumers into diploma courses.

Between March 2014 and October 2015, Empower enrolled more than 6,000 new students in its courses. Many of these students were vulnerable consumers and were signed up using incentives such as free laptops and cash, unaware they were incurring a significant debt.

Telcos on notice about false and misleading advertising

ACCC Chair Rod Sims has put telecommunications companies on notice to ensure their advertising is clear and transparent or face court action from the regulator, including much higher penalties and a warning that the ACCC may bring proceedings against executives who knowingly approve misleading advertisements.

Earlier this year the ACCC began investigating Optus, Vodafone and Telstra’s use of the term ‘unlimited’ to promote mobile data plans, concurrent with private litigation brought by Optus against Telstra in the Federal Court.

'Congestion-free' claims removed from Aussie Broadband's NBN advertising

NBN provider Aussie Broadband has removed statements across its advertising which described its broadband services as “congestion-free” in response to concerns raised by the ACCC.

Since July 2017, Aussie Broadband claimed that it offered “congestion-free NBN™” and a “congestion-free network”. Aussie Broadband made these statements widely in its advertising, including throughout its website, Facebook posts and advertisements, targeted emails and direct mail-out letters.