Allphones Retail Pty Ltd has been fined $45,000 for contempt of court orders, following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Justice Nicholas found that the conduct was both “serious” and “deliberate,” having been undertaken by a number of senior Allphones employees.
The orders Allphones breached concern two undertakings given to the court in October 2008. They:
- Prohibited the company from withholding consent to the assignment of an Allphones franchise if the franchisee would not sign a deed releasing Allphones from liability; and
- Required Allphones to give the ACCC 7 days’ written notice of its intention to withhold consent to the assignment of an Allphones franchise on the basis that the new franchisee must enter into a new franchise agreement.
“This decision sends a clear message that the ACCC and the Court regard breaches of court orders very seriously. Those who act in contempt of court can expect to be vigorously pursued by the ACCC,” ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel said.
Allphones has acknowledged its conduct was both wrongful and culpable, and apologised to the Court and franchisees.
It made joint recommendations with the ACCC to the court as to the appropriate fine.