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ATAS Update

ASIC provides guidance on companies’ whistle blower policies

Public companies, large proprietary companies, and proprietary companies that are trustees of registrable superannuation entities, must have a whistle blower policy available to their officers and employees by 1 January 2020.

ASIC has released Regulatory Guide 270, which sets out the mandatory requirements to comply with the law. This is also good, practical guidance to assist companies in developing, and implementing, policies which are tailored to their operations.

RG 270 is available here.

ACCC issues infringement notice for alleged misleading “was/now” pricing claims

The ACCC continues to focus on misleading advertising claims. They are issuing an infringement notice against four furniture retailers; Plush, Koala Living, Early Settler and Oz Design. Each will be paying a penalty of $12,600.

The ACCC had reasonable grounds to believe each retailer had made false or misleading representations, by claiming that consumers would save money if they purchased certain furniture items when this was not the case. The retailers used advertising statements such as ‘was $2599, now $2049’, or ‘$799, save $200’, when the furniture item had never been advertised at the ‘was’ price, or was only advertised at the ‘was’ price for a short period of time.

The principle applies to all industries, including travel. In a statement, ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court advised:

“The ACCC has taken this enforcement action to send a strong message to retailers, that they must ensure that any claimed savings are accurate and based on a “before” price which has been offered for a reasonable period, when using comparison advertising”.

For more information, see the ACCC’s Advertising and selling guide: Two-price comparison advertising here.

ATAS Complaint Appeal Committee (ACAC)

The ACAC held a hearing on the 4th November 2019, to hear an appeal against the ATAS Compliance Manager’s (Naomi Menon) decision on a complaint pursuant to the ATAS Code of Conduct. The Appeal was dismissed.

The issue raised in the complaint was that the Complainant had sought to cancel an online booking immediately after booking, alleging that an error had occurred. The Complainant was advised that all cancellations must be made in writing. The Complainant then emailed the request to an incorrect email address, and as such the request was not processed in the required time frame, and no refund was supplied.

The ATAS Compliance Manager found the Agent had not breached the ATAS Code of Conduct, with the ACAC agreeing with this decision.

Fair Work Ombudsman Free Online Courses

Do you, or your staff, need more training or information on workplace issues? The Fair Work Ombudsman has a number of free online courses available including:
- Record-keeping and pay slips
- Managing employees
- Hiring employees
- Difficult conversations in the workplace – manager course.

Not sure if you need to take a course? Take their quiz to test your knowledge about everyday workplace issues here.

You can access the courses here.

Want to know more?

Contact Naomi Menon – Head of Compliance and Operations, AFTA at naomi@afta.com.au.