In August 2002 the Federal Court ruled that Woolworths had published misleading advertising relating to the sale of beef in Northern NSW and Queensland. In 2003 the same court issued orders against Woolworths for breaching the price fixing provisions of the Trade Practices Act in Nhulunbuy, NT, over the sale of alcohol. In February last year, Safeways, a Woolies subsidiary, was found guilty of fixing the price of bread in Victoria and NSW and fined $9m. Then, in December, in what the media termed “bullying” of small liquor outlets, it was fined $7m for anti-competitive behaviour.
Woolies may be one of the worst offenders but it’s not alone. Here’s a list of other miscreants with the corresponding link to the ACCC announcement:
- Commonwealth Bank: Misleading consumers in a home loan advertising campaign.
- NAB: Unconscionable conduct in its dealings with a Tasmanian woman who had provided the bank with a personal guarantee.
- Boral, CSR and Pioneer Concrete: Price fixing in the concrete market.
- BIS Cleanaway, formerly Brambles: Misleading and unconscionable conduct in waste collection in Rockhampton.
- Telstra: Misleading and/or deceptive conduct in its advertising of mobile phones. Telstra have also argued in Court that it isn’t required to “accurately calculate” monthly billings for its mobile phone system, which may explain your recent bill.
- Coles Myer: Through its Liquorland subsidiary, fined $4.5m in the same ACCC action against Woolworths for anti-competitive liquor deals.
ACCC actions are currently underway against Amcor and Visy Industries for alleged price fixing in the cardboard box market and Seven for misleading and deceptive conduct. The actions of AWB and James Hardie require no further comment.
Let’s get 2007 properly underway with a Crikey list. Nominations, please, of major Australian companies that have broken the law to:[email protected]. And please, hearsay and innuendo will not suffice. We don’t want to start the New Year with an underemployed bevy of corporate lawyers on our backs.