01.The ACCC issues its first carbon price related fine
The ACCC has fined a Melbourne gym after it made false claims regarding the carbon price.
In April 2012, Genesis Fitness Club Berwick sent a letter to 2122 of its members claiming fees would soon increase by 9-15% due to the carbon price. It went on to say that members who signed up to lengthy contracts would benefit from a 'rate freeze'.
However the ACCC has determined the gym had no reasonable basis for claiming that the carbon price would result in a 9-15% increase and slapped the company with a $6600 fine.
The ACCC also issued a warning to other companies. "Businesses are free to set their prices as they see fit but must carefully consider the basis for making carbon price claims and ensure such claims are truthful and have a reasonable basis," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
This action comes just weeks after the ACCC took a court enforceable undertaking against the South Australian company, Equipserve Solutions Pty Ltd, for wrongfully blaming the carbon price entirely for its price increases. The company later admitted its wrong doing and cooperated with the ACCC.
Other companies are also been caught making false carbon claims. The national bakery franchise, Brumby’s, issued a memo to its franchisees, encouraging them to increase their prices and "let the carbon tax take the blame". The managing director responsible for the email later resigned.
CHOICE encourages all consumers to wary of potentially misleading carbon price claims. According to independent research conducted by the CSIRO and AECOM, the average Australian household will see its living expenses increase by $9.10 per week on average because of the carbon price.
If you see a carbon price claim you feel is misleading, contact the ACCC and email CHOICE at email@example.com
Also be sure to sign up as a campaigns supporter to keep up to date with all of CHOICE’s campaigns.