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Big Warehouse Spare Parts is an amazing, if sometimes expensive, service for the supply of parts for all kinds of things, including hard to find items. But its business practices have landed it in hot water with Australia's Consumer and Competition Commission.

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When our sister publication Little Blue Green Planet wrote about the ACCC's case about flushable wipes, it dealt with the legal issues from behind a curtain of humour (see here). But the ACCC has decided to appeal. Is it mad or vindictive?

What did the wet wipe say to the toilet paper? "I flush, therefore I'm flushable." Kimberley-Clark - this one's for you.

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When the drains backed up in a city centre sports block, the cause turned out to be a mix of rubber and fabrics, paper and plastic: wet wipes, a variety of tissue papers, sanitary pads, disposable (haha) nappies, Q-tips, various forms of bodily output, plasticised paper (burger wrappers) and condoms were to blame. It wasn't a fatberg, as sewer techs call the stuff they routinely have to remove, but the effect was the same. If disposable nappies aren't actually disposable by any sensible definition of the term, what about using "flushable?" That's a case that has just come to court.

Australia is big. Seriously big. It is also empty. Seriously empty. With an estimated 90% of its population clustered into a handful of coastal cities (and some of those being small compared to Sydney and Melbourne), the cost of doing business can be disproportionately high in provincial and rural areas. One might think that would favour the internet and, for non-perishable, non-urgent things that's probably true although, as in many countries, the cost of delivery dramatically ramps up the cost of products in sparsely populated areas. What happens when towns become too small to support reasonable returns for businesses? Logic says "close up or combine." Australian regulators question that policy.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has begun proceedings in the Federal Court against Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited (Sony Europe).

 

The complaint relates to limitations on warranty for Sony's online sales of PlayStation products that appear on its website and have been notified to Australian consumers in dealings with them.

It's far, far more complicated than the ACCC suggests and for global retailers it's a major threat.

Following the release of market sensitive information last week (see Embarrassment for regulator with premature release of market sensitive information) there's an apology, of sorts. Is it fair dinkum or a feeble excuse?

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How does your life insurance company compare to others when it comes to handling claims? Now, if you are in Australia, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have produced data comparing insurance companies' performance and launched a tool to help policyholders make comparisons.

BIScom Subsection: 

STA Travel, which readers of a certain age will remember as a student-only bucket shop in the 1970s, has mutated but still focuses on the younger (that is those who have yet to reach a certain age) traveller. But, the authorities in Australia say that STA Travel began, in 2011, to market a product that has earned the company some AUD12m but mislead consumers who have paid more than STA Travel said they would. Proceedings have been issued in civil court.

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"Many people are surprised to learn that it is not illegal to sell unsafe goods in Australia. Many think there’s already a law that says goods have to be safe. Well, there isn’t, but there should be," says Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Starting point: banks in Australia have behaved appallingly. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, ACCC, has been shown up as .. pick a negative adjective and it's probably been used. The ACCC, along with other regulators who have been shown up as wanting are now doing their best to prove they are "across it," as Australians say. Today, they say that they have produced a "final report" from their residential mortgage price inquiry. But.. has the ACCC now moved from ensuring good behaviour to managing how banks do business? It raises risk management questions, liquidity issues and even the stability of the housing market which has been in an accelerating downturn for a while and is showing all the signs of turning into a bit of a crisis.

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We reported (here) about the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission's civil action against Landmark Operations Limited trading as Seednet. The action has settled.

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An Australian estate agent / property developer Rick Otton and a company of which he was a sole director, told people how they could make money by buying and selling houses. We Buy Houses Limted and Otton have just been ordered to pay a whopping AUD18 million for telling porkies.

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The iconic fashion boots UGG are famously Australian.

Or so consumers were falsely told by Ozwear Connection, a wholesaler of footwear and accessories in Australia.

And then there's the question of exactly what is an "ugg" boot.

Stuart Dickson Produce Pty Ltd is a Sydney fruit and vegetable wholesaler. The company has been issued with an AUD10,500 penalty notice for buying produce from growers without a written "Horticulture Produce Agreement" (inevitably known as an HPA) in place. But, while the notice has been announced, the ACCC which issued and publicised it, doesn't stand behind it with any great force.

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued civil proceedings in the Federal Court alleging that biotech company Landmark Operations Limited, which trades as "Seednet." The ACCC alleges that Seednet made "false, misleading and deceptive claims in a fact sheet" relating to a variety of barley, known as "Compass," developed by Adelaide University and marketed and distributed by Seednet.

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