New fines and penalties under Australian Consumer Law

Public news

The ACCC’s Chairman Rod Sims has said that companies who mislead consumers can expect hefty fines and he says fines for corporations could total well into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Mr Sims also explained that breaches and misconduct would now be treated on a ‘courts first basis’ and that breaches of consumer laws will be dealt with harshly under a new penalty regime from 1 January this year.

Mr Sims used the Ford Motor Company’s handling of their Powershift Transmission problem, among other examples, where design faults were reported as a driving style issue, signalling the regulator’s increasing aggressive approach to enforcing ACL. These include penalties increasing from $1 million to the greater of either $10 million or 10 per cent of a corporation’s annual turnover.

For an updated list of the ACCC’s fine and penalties, click here.

Mr Sims also said that the recent Hayne Royal Commission into misconduct in the financial services sector had exposed practices where financial institutions and insurers had misled consumers.

The Hayne Royal Commission has signalled it will recommend a ban on ‘conflicted remuneration’ rather than abolish all forms of insurance commissions. Clarification of what ‘conflicted remuneration’ entails is currently being sought from the regulator.

If you have any concerns or questions in regards to your obligations under ACL, do not hesitate to contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations Department by clicking here.