Thorn in the ACCC's side: Rent ad rants and the TPA
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Recent Federal Court decisions highlight a renewed vigour on behalf the of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). In the last year (2003–2004) the regulator has been aggressively targeting advertising which it considers to be misleading and deceptive. This strategy has often resulted in the accused party admitting to the alleged conduct and the court sanctioning robust orders drafted by the ACCC. The Thorn case (ACCC v Thorn Australia Pty Ltd  ATPR 41-984) typified this theme – with an added twist. In addition to the alleged contravention of s 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) (TPA) the ACCC also accused Thorn Australia Pty Ltd (Thorn) of breaching s 53C of the TPA. Section 53C requires that advertisements showing part of the consideration for the supply of goods or services should specify the "cash price" (at 48,525 per French J). The question before the court was whether an advertisement setting out the periodic rent payable for the lease of goods should also show the total rent payable over the term (at 48,525).
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