ACCC wins $7 million in three months

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ACCC wins $7 million in three months

The ACCC won almost $7 million in court penalties and recorded 46,000 complaints and inquiries in the three months to September 30 this year.

The consumer watchdog today released its quarterly ACCCount report detailing its activities from July 1 to the end of September, which included winning penalties against Energy Watch and EDirect for misleading conduct, totalling $4.5 million combined.

Half of the complaints made to the ACCC in the quarter were in relation to scams, including the infamous Microsoft scam.

The ACCC said it commenced four proceedings in the Federal Court in the quarter. One case involved the local operation of PC maker HP and its alleged misleading actions towards consumers over faulty products and warranties.

Mid last month, the ACCC said HP had breached Australian consumer laws by deceiving customers around product repair eligibility and warranty periods. It said HP told customers they could not get replacements for products until they had been repaired multiple times, and that returns would only be provided at HP’s discretion.

The ACCC alleged HP advised customers the warranty period for its products were limited to an “express” period, and for any repairs or replacements needed after the expiration of the express period, HP would only repair faulty products if the customer paid for it. It is also accused of not honouring repairs and exchanges for its online store. 

The case will be heard in Sydney's Federal Court on December 7.

Issues relating to consumer law were a focus of the ACCC’s remit over the period. A single national consumer law was introduced in 2011, replacing the Trade Practices Act of 1974, uniting Federal and State legislation. The ACCC said it has won $19.42 million in penalties since the ACL was introduced in January 2011. 

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