Scam Awareness Week
Since 2005, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in partnership with other Federal, State and New Zealand Government organisations have operated the Scam Awareness Network. The purpose of the network is to work alongside non-governmental and private sector bodies to protect consumers from fraud. Every year the Network runs ‘Scams Awareness Week’, which will be held 21-25 May this year.
Federal Parliament is currently accepting submissions for another inquiry into franchising and, in particular, the Franchising Code of Conduct. With the report due to be released in September 2018, some have argued that resources would be better aimed at enforcing compliance with existing franchise laws rather than trying to prevent unscrupulous conduct by amending existing laws.
Whatever your view, in the current media and political climate, franchisors are advised to review their franchise agreements and related agreements and the manner in which they deal with franchisees to mitigate the risk of disputes or claims raised by franchisees or regulators.
Injunctions play a key role in franchising. They are a specific tool that enables franchisors to enforce terms, relating to protecting their brand and trademarks, reputation and their franchises generally. They can also be used by franchisees to prevent a franchisor from wrongfully terminating their franchise arrangement.
Recently, Justice Barker of the Federal Court dismissed an urgent application for an injunction in the matter of W Hoy Pty Ltd v W.T.H. Pty Ltd  FCA 310. His Honour determined this was not a matter where an injunction should be granted. He said that while some of the claims were arguable, they were not strong, and as such, the balance of convenience and justice did not warrant the granting of an injunction, as damages were an adequate remedy.
The Federal Court decision against the manufacturer of Nurofen serves as a reminder of advertiser’s obligations when making claims about their products. The decision handed down in January 2018 provides guidance about what a proper scientific basis is to support a representation made in an advertisement. A proper basis is vital in order to avoid potential liability arising out of the operation of the misleading and deceptive conduct provision under the Australian Consumer Law for those who get it wrong.