Business Advice

Former travel agent fined $36,000 for consumer law breaches … Woolworths faces class action … Oroton chief executive resigns after profits cut in half

Emma Koehn /

A former Queensland business owner has been ordered to pay $36,000 after pleading guilt to 139 charges related to making false and misleading representations and failing to supply services paid for by consumers.

The Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said in a statement Joanne Margaret Day, director of liquidated company Getaway Escapes Pty Ltd, was issued the penalties last week for breaching consumer law after the Southport Magistrate’s Court heard Getaway Escapes cold-called consumers offering discounted flights and accommodation, but failed to disclose some accommodation purchases were required to access certain discounted flight fares.

The court also heard the company failed to pass on payments to providers and confirm booked stays with those providers prior to customers arriving.

In 2016 Getaway Escapes was taken to the Federal Court by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) for breaching the nation’s Do Not Call Register, and in June 2016 was ordered to pay $325,000 for breaching the code. 

Woolworths faces shareholder class action

Law firm Maurice Blackburn is calling for expressions of interest from aggrieved Woolworths shareholders to potentially launch a class action against the retail giant over losses suffered through alleged breaches of the company’s disclosure obligations.

On its registration page, the law firm calls for shareholders who acquired Woolworths stock between November 27, 2014, and February 26, 2015. In notes on the case, the law firm alleges in late August 2014, the company provided guidance that its 2015 net profit after tax was expected to increase by between four and seven percent.

However, Woolworths is alleged to have been aware of risks to its forecast profit by October, before it reaffirmed the original numbers in November 2014 and downgraded its profit guidance in February 2015.

Oroton cites “softer foot traffic” as profits drop 52% and chief executive resigns

The chief executive of fashion accessories brand OrotonGroup has resigned and the grandson of the brand’s founder will take the reigns as chief executive.

The change in leadership comes immediately after the company posted a half-year result that showed net profit after tax had dropped 52% on the prior corresponding period.

In a notice to shareholders, the company thanked outgoing chief executive Mark Newman for his “loyal service” as the company began its “transformational change”, and said Ross Lane, grandson of Oroton founder Boyd Lane, will serve as the new boss.

OrotonGroup’s net profit after tax was $1.8 million in the six months to December 2016, compared with $3.8 million in the six months to December 2015. The company said in its investor presentation from Boxing Day onwards, foot traffic across all of its stores was “softer than last year”.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior journalist at SmartCompany.

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