“While we found that Coles may have an incentive to consolidate some of its milk volumes in the eastern states, this was unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition,” Mr Keogh said.
“Coles will likely continue to face financial incentives to stock and support branded milk from other processors, due to the higher retail margins it earns on these products.”
In addition, the ACCC found that Coles’ commercial incentives to consolidate its milk supply would exist with or without the transaction due to the significant excess capacity at the Laverton and Erskine Park facilities.
Read More “[U]nlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition”, ACCC Okays Coles Milk Plant Acquisitions
The total penalties, ordered by the Federal Court, are the highest imposed for resale price maintenance in Australia. Resale price maintenance (also known as RPM) occurs when a supplier of goods specifies a minimum price below which a reseller must not supply, offer to supply, advertise, or display those goods for sale.
“The ACCC submitted to the Court that this level of penalty was appropriate given the seriousness, duration and extent of Techtronic’s conduct. It sends a strong signal to deter others from engaging in RPM, and should serve as a warning for all other businesses,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
Read More ACCC Applies Record Penalty for “seriousness, duration and extent” of Techtronic’s Retail Price Maintenance
The current USO only provides consumers with a right to a standard telephone service. A standard telephone service refers to a landline (home phone) connection many of us grew up with, and must provide access to local, national and international calls, untimed local calls, and free access to emergency service numbers.
These services are essential, and for many individuals residing in regional, rural, and remote areas they are a reliable and trusted lifeline during natural disasters and emergencies.
However, communications technology and public expectations have changed since the USO was introduced, and USO reform may provide opportunities to get a better deal for consumers and ensure more reliable and robust services.
Read More Universal Service Obligations – Have Your Say in the Future of Communication
The number of complaints from First Nations people to the financial services ombudsman rose by 13% last financial year, with scams, delays in insurance claim handling and service quality the most common issues.
Read More First Nations People More Than Twice as Likely to Receive Poor Financial Hardship Service
More than one in 10 complaints from First Nations people related to financial hardship, double the one in 20 complaints involving financial hardship from the overall population.
AFCA says while the total number of complaints from First Nations consumers generally mirrors the proportion of the population, more still needs to be done to improve the cultural competency of the service to ensure accessibility to the ombudsman as well as financial inclusion.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has welcomed the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council’s (ECMC) decision to progress work on a proposed package of Game changer reforms that will deliver significant improvements in outcomes for energy consumers experiencing vulnerability.
Under the comprehensive package, consumers would receive concessions they are entitled to and those in hardship would receive their retailer’s best offer to help them lower their bills.
Read More ‘Game changer reforms’ for Vulnerable Consumers will Progress
Businesses are trotting them out left and right these days, but it’s not clear who gives them the authority to do that, since you already have a right to the three Rs without promising to keep matters confidential.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) effectively keep problems with a product or service a secret so other customers can’t know that it has a history of problems.
“The ACCC has made clear that non-disparagement clauses can breach unfair contract terms provisions.
“Again this comes back to the imbalance of power and information between consumer and business, and why we need strong, enforceable consumer protections.”
Read More Non-Disclosure Agreements, Unfair Contracts and Consumer Rights
“There are a number of gaps in the consumer law when it comes to protecting people from unfair business practices. These gaps leave consumers in Australia vulnerable to all kinds of unfair treatment,” says CHOICE senior policy and campaigns adviser Alex Söderlund.
CPRC CEO Erin Turner says Australian consumers deserve better.
“Australians are missing out on protections that consumers in other countries have benefited from for decades. We need laws to effectively call out and restrict unfair practices. These laws will mean businesses have to treat you with respect and care.”
Read More Make Unfair Illegal – Consumer Groups Call for Strong New Laws to Close Gaps as New Research on Consumer Knowledge Emerges
Digital platforms with significant market power can use practices like bundling or tying of products, pre-installation and default settings to limit customer choice or deter innovation from competitors.
Read More Expansion of Digital Platforms Demonstrates “critical need for regulatory reform”
“Australians increasingly use digital platforms for work, study and play and can benefit from their wide range of interconnected products and services. While the size and scale of digital platforms alone does not raise concern, there is a risk that this expansion may be driven by a desire from digital platforms to entrench or extend their market power,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.
A few days ago, on November 20th 2023 the Albanese Government’s Competition Taskforce released a Consultation Review on Australia’s laws and practices surrounding mergers. Below is information from the Treasury website on the consultation paper as well as how to make a submission and what to include. The Treasurer has also issued a media release on the consultation which is available here. Submissions for the merger consultation paper close on January 19th 2024.
Read More Submissions Open for Consultation Paper on Merger Reform
With the continued stress and pressure of the current cost of living crisis, changes to the NBN and a year filled with hacks, scams, identity theft, and outages we thought it was time to remind everyone of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network’s six guides for talking to telcos. Below is a list from the…
Read More ACCAN’s Tips for Talking to Telcos
Original media release by ASIC (20/11/2023). ASIC Chair Joe Longo has welcomed the commencement of new Commissioners Simone Constant and Alan Kirkland, who began their five-year terms today. In August the Treasurer announced the appointment of three new Commissioners to ASIC to serve alongside Mr Longo, Deputy Chair Sarah Court and Deputy Chair Karen Chester,…
Read More ASIC Welcomes New Commissioners
Original media release ASIC (17/11/2023). Today ASIC opened its consultation on the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) proposed changes to its Banking Code of Practice (the Code). The Code contains a set of contractually enforceable standards that customers and small business can expect subscribing banks to uphold. The ABA plans to apply for ASIC approval of…
Read More ABA Consults ASIC on Proposed Banking Code Changes