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News >> Consumer Protection

The United States District Court has made available the opinion and order (11 May 2015) of Judge Denise Cote, in which she found Nomura Holdings Inc (Nomura) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS) liable for selling Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), mortgage bonds that contained misleading statements and errors in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Published in Consumer Protection

The Supreme Court of Victoria (VSC) has announced that it has approved an AU$25 million settlement of the class action brought against the manufacturer, exporter and distributor of Bonsoy soy milk products in a judgment delivered on 7 May 2015. According to the VSC, Bonsoy was reformulated in 2003 "to include a product known as kombu extract instead of kombu powder", which likely increased the iodine content of the soy milk, and allegedly lead to 496 people suffering illness including thyroid problems.

Published in Consumer Protection

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that the Federal Court of Australia has ordered energy company AGL South Australia Pty Ltd (AGL) to pay penalties of A$700,000 and to provide refunds to 23,000 consumers totalling approximately A$780,000 after AGL made false or misleading representations in relation to discounts that certain residential consumers would receive.

Published in Consumer Protection

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that online group buying website operator Spreets Pty Ltd (Spreets) has been ordered by the Federal Court to pay AU$600,000 in penalties for making false or misleading representations to consumers about deals offered on its website.

Published in Consumer Protection

AirAsia X Berhad (AirAsia X), an affiliate carrier of airline business the AirAsia Group (AirAsia) has apologised for the cancellation of certain Adelaide–Kuala Lumpur flights in January 2015 and the re-routing of certain Melbourne–Denpasar flights in December 2014. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), some consumers "incurred additional out-of-pocket expenses" as a result of the cancellations, while the re-routings were necessitated by AirAsia X's "[failure to] obtain regulatory approval from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority in time to commence [direct] flights between Melbourne and Denpasar from [26] December 2014 as advertised". The ACCC advises that it has obtained a commitment from AirAsia X to address affected consumers' complaints.

Published in Consumer Protection

The United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that it has fined (14 April 2015) Clydesdale Bank (Clydesdale) £20,678,300, the largest-ever fine handed down by the FCA for failures relating to payment protection insurance (PPI). According to the FCA, Clydesdale's failures include "implement[ing] inappropriate policies which meant that its PPI complaint handlers were not taking into account all relevant documents when deciding how to deal with complaints".

Published in Consumer Protection

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that it has approved a decision and order (30 March 2015) barring Health Discovery Corporation from making misleading or deceptive representations that its consumer directed iOS or Android software application MelApp can assess or diagnose melanoma risk early by analysing digital images of skin lesions captured by smart phones. Health Discovery Corporation has also been ordered to pay US$17,963 and to refrain from "claiming that any device detects or diagnoses melanoma or its risk factors, or increases users' chances of early detection, unless the representation is not misleading and is supported by competent and scientific evidence".
FTC's media release (13 April 2015)
(Source: FTC)

Published in Consumer Protection

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that the Federal Court of Australia has ordered Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd (Coles) to pay penalties of [AU$2.5 million] for making false or misleading representations and engaging in misleading conduct in relation to its bread products.

ACCC alleged that Coles promoted some of its bread products as freshly baked and in some cases freshly baked on-site, when the products had actually been "partially baked and then frozen off site by a supplier, transported and 'finished' at in-store bakeries within Coles supermarkets".

According to ACCC chairperson Rod Sims, the ACCC brought the claim against Coles because it was concerned that the supermarket's claims about its bread would mislead consumers and place "independently-owned and franchised bakeries that entirely bake bread from scratch each day at a competitive disadvantage".
ACCC's media release (10 April 2015)
(Source: ACCC)

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that a US district court has made a summary judgment (6 March 2015) ordering affiliate marketing network LeadClick Media (LeadClick) and its parent company CoreLogic Inc (CoreLogic) to pay US$16 million, after the court found that affiliate marketers recruited by LeadClick on behalf of LeanSpa LLC (LeanSpa) developed fake news sites which "deceived consumers by using real news organization names and logos along with purported testimonials from users of LeanSpa's [weight loss] products".

Published in Consumer Protection

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that massive open online course platform provider edX Inc (edX) has agreed to settle allegations that it breached the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. The DoJ alleged that the platform provided by edX was "not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who have physical disabilities affecting manual dexterity".

Published in Consumer Protection
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