ACCC launches legal action against online business directory

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ACCC launches legal action against online business directory

The consumer watchdog has begun Federal Court proceedings against ABG Pages.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has begun legal proceedings against ABG Pages Pty Ltd which has sold advertisements through its online directory and blog with a fixed 12- or 24-month term. 

In a statement, the ACCC alleges that ABG Pages engaged in “a system of unconscionable conduct” and breached the Australian Consumer Law by:

  • falsely representing that large businesses purchased their directory services
  • using high pressure sales tactics to sell listings in its online business directory
  • misleading businesses into entering one or more contracts
  • refusing to cancel contracts which customers did not want and did not intend to enter into
  • refusing to accept customers’ attempts to cancel contracts
  • misleading businesses about the total duration and the total price of contracts
  • misleading businesses into entering into second or subsequent contracts for additional listings
  • unduly harassing three customers by repeatedly contacting them for payments

“The ACCC alleges that the conduct of ABG Pages resulted in a number of small businesses paying significant amounts of money to ABG Pages for advertising they did not want,” ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said.

“We want to send a clear message that making false or misleading representations, engaging in high pressure sales tactics and unduly harassing customers to enter into contracts or pay invoices are not legitimate business strategies.”

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