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ACCC calls for tougher penalties on ISP

ACCC calls for tougher penalties on ISP

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is appealing a Federal Court ruling against local ISP, Dataline.net.au, and its owner, in a bid to have the penalties toughened up.

Last month, the Federal Court found Dataline.net.au guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct against customers. Related companies, Australia Internet and World Publishing Systems, were also found to have breached the Trade Practices Act. Justice Kiefel also ruled Dataline managing director, John Russell, was knowingly involved in the misleading acts of all three.

As a result of the findings, Russell was restrained from engaging in resale price maintenance with other providers. He was also penalised $5000 and ordered to pay ACCC court costs. According to Justice Kiefel's judgement, the ACCC had claimed $820,000 in costs.

In a statement today, the ACCC said it would appeal the amount of the pecuniary penalty imposed on Russell, as well as the request penalties on the corporate respondents, which were in liquidation.

It will also ask the courts to reconsider granting an injunction restraining Russell from engaging in unconscionable, misleading and deceptive conduct. The watchdog is also seeking clarification of the court's ability under the new provisions to grant injunctive relief in relation to all the contravening conduct as alleged by the ACCC.

"In respect of the resale price maintenance conduct, the ACCC is concerned to ensure that adequate penalties are imposed by the court as a deterrent against future conduct," the ACCC statement read.

An ACCC spokesperson would not comment further on its decision to pursue further legal action.

The appeal is expected to be heard by the courts in May next year.


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