Consumer Protection

ACCC Accepts Distributer’s Undertaking for False Representation
Asia Pacific

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that it has accepted an enforceable undertaking by Organix Ever Straight Brazilian Keratin Therapy products distributer Lenan Corporation (Lenan). The ACCC stated that the undertaking was provided after Lenan “falsely represent[ed] that its hair care products did not contain formaldehyde, sulphates or sodium”, when in fact an ACCC investigation revealed that these materials did exist in the hair care products. As part of the undertaking, Lenan will “ensure all product labelling, brochures and other marketing materials comply with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 [1974 No. 51 (Cth)] and the Australian Consumer Law”. The ACCC has also ordered Lenan to remove online misrepresentations and correct labels on existing stock.
ACCC’s media release (7 December 2011)
(Source: ACCC; Lawlex Legislative Alert & Premium Research)

ASIC Fines Company AUD$30,000 for Breach of Market Integrity Rules
Asia Pacific

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced that it has fined Austock Securities Ltd (Austock) AUD$30,000 for allegedly contravening s.798H(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 No. 50 (Cth) “by reason of contravening market integrity rule 5.9.1 of the ASIC Market Integrity Rules (ASX Market) 2010 (MIR 5.91)”, which relates to a market participant’s duty to uphold the fairness and order in a market for a product. According to ASIC, the alleged contravention relates to the erroneous sale of shares by Austock on 30 March 2011, which caused Newcrest Mining Limited’s shares to fall by 5.5% and led to trade cancellations.
ASIC’s media release (12 December 2011)
(Source: ASIC; Lawlex Legislative Alert & Premium Research)

EC Fines Panasonic Over Breach of Competition Laws
Europe, Middle East and Africa

Yahoo News reports that the European Commission (EC) has issued Panasonic with a US$10.3 million fine “for violating European competition law in connection with the sales of refrigerator parts”. Panasonic was reportedly found to have engaged in a price-fixing cartel with Italian, Danish and Brazilian companies from April 2004 until October 2007.
Yahoo News: Panasonic fined in European price fixing case (8 December 2011)
(Source: Yahoo News)

Multinational Companies Fined by French Watchdog Over Price-fixing

The Business Courier reports that Procter & Gamble Co (P&G) has been fined US$312 million by French consumer watchdog Autorité de la Concurrence and plans to appeal it, with P&G general counsel Debbie Majoras stating that “[t]he French case overlaps with the European Commission case, as both concern similar matters”. The fine was reportedly issued over alleged “coordination of promotions and product offerings of laundry soap in French stores between 1997 and 2004″, and extended to Henkel and Colgate-Palmolive. P&G reportedly received the largest penalty “[b]ecause it has the largest market share”. Henkel has also stated its intention to appeal the fine for the same reasons as P&G, reports The Business Courier.
The Business Courier: Procter & Gamble hit with $312M price-fixing fine in Europe (8 December 2011)
(Source: The Business Courier) 

DoJ Investigating Allegations of e-Book Price-fixing

Computer World reports that US Department of Justice (DoJ) acting antitrust chief Sharis Pozen has announced that the DoJ has commenced its own investigation into allegations of price-fixing in the electronic book industry. The investigation follows a recent announcement by the European Commission that “it had opened a price-fixing probe of Apple and five major publishers, including France’s Hachette Livre, German-owned Macmillan, U.K. publisher Penguin, and U.S.-based Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster”, reports Computer World.
Computer World: Feds jump on Apple-ebook price-fixing probe bandwagon (8 December 2011)
(Source: Computer World)