By Dominic Powell and Emma Koehn
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking automotive repair business Ultra Tune to court over alleged breaches of the Franchising Code and Australian Consumer Law, claiming the franchisor failed to “act in good faith” when dealing with a prospective franchisee, and failed to provide the prospective franchisee with requisite documents under the Code.
The ACCC also alleges Ultra Tune contravened misleading and deceptive conduct provisions of Australian Consumer Law when discussing the franchise site with this prospective franchisee, and failed to provide marketing fund financial statements and audit reports to all its franchisees for three years.
“Franchisees need accurate and timely information to help them make informed business decisions,” said ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper in a statement.
“For this reason, the Franchising Code requires franchisors to provide disclosure documents before accepting non-refundable payments from prospective franchisees, and to provide annual financial statements detailing receipts and expenses for any marketing fund to which franchisees are required to contribute.”
“Franchising contributes significantly to the retail economy and all franchisors must comply with the Code and be transparent in dealings with franchisees. Ensuring that small businesses receive the protections of industry codes is a current ACCC compliance and enforcement priority.”
The ACCC is seeking a payment refund for the prospective franchisee, declarations, injunctions, pecuniary penalties, andcompliance and adverse publicity orders. A hearing in the Federal Court is scheduled to be held on June 16.
SmartCompany has contacted Ultra Tune for comment
Craft brewers association ditches bigger players
The Craft Beer Industry Association will be rebranded as the Independent Brewers Association after the group “overwhelmingly” voted to boot larger brewers from the association yesterday, reports Fairfax.
Until now, the association included large-scale craft brewers such as James Squire or Little Creatures, all of which are owned by large multinational brewing companies such as Lion. The new rules dictate brewers with more than 20% ownership by large companies will be excluded membership.
“As an industry association the goal is to offer the opportunity of a collective voice that brewers couldn’t have individually. The very large brewers pretty much independently have the ability to influence the market anyway,” Independent Brewers Association chair Peta Fielding told Fairfax.
“The interests of the small brewers and what they were wanting the association to focus on is really quite distinct from the world the larger brewers operate in, whether it be from access to the market through tap contracts or seeking excess relief for smaller brewers as there are for wineries. They weren’t necessarily things that aligned with the needs of the big brewers.”
However, a spokesperson for large-scale craft brewer Mountain Goat, which has now been excluded from the Association, told Fairfax the move is “divisive”.
“While we understand the emotions behind today’s decision, we still believe our industry can best address the challenges we face together with a united front that makes us stronger as a whole. To purposely create division in our industry is not the best way to grow and progress,” the spokesperson said.
17 million users affected by Zomato data breach
Restaurant review platform Zomato is urging customers who log into their accounts through internet browsers to change their passwords immediately after 17 million user records were stolen from its database.
In a blog post to customers, the company said it will attempt to “plug any more security gaps” after discovering the breach, which includes user email addresses and hashed passwords.
“We hash passwords with a one-way hashing algorithm, with multiple hashing iterations and individual salt per password. This means your password cannot be easily converted back to plain text,” the company said.
“We however, strongly advise you to change your password for any other services where you are using the same password.”
Zomato says payment information is stored separately to this data, and no credit card details were affected. The company was keen to point out that 60% of its users log in through Facebook and Google, which means their passwords are safe.
“We don’t have any passwords for these accounts — therefore, these users are at zero risk — both within Zomato, as well as on Google and Facebook,” the company said.