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Australia: ACCC sues waste firm for unfair contracts

 |  September 7, 2017

JJ Richards is the largest privately-owned waste management group in Australia and provides recycling, sanitary and green waste collection for more than 80,000 commercial customers and for 42 local authorities throughout the eastern states. The Queensland company declined to comment on the news.

Dr Michael Schaper, deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), said the ACCC is focusing on what it believes are its strongest cases first, and is aiming to build case law and establish precedent so businesses in all sectors can be sure what is able to be included in contracts.

“We’re looking at other industries, but we’re also trying to encourage smaller businesses with these potentially problematic contracts to come forward and talk to us. In many cases there is the good old fear of retribution, but if we don’t get that help from small business it’s going to make it harder for us to police this.”

If the court finds instances of a major imbalance between contract parties, or clauses that can cause disadvantage to smaller parties, the terms can be declared void. Since 2011, unfair contracts laws have applied to consumers, but the government’s reforms brought small businesses with fewer than 20 employees and with contract prices under AU$300,000 (US$241,613) under the protections.

Full Content: ABC News

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