The competition watchdog has initiated court proceedings against a Melbourne cleaning company for unconscionable conduct against some of its franchisees.
The ACCC said in a statement today it is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, compensation for two affected franchisees and costs from Coverall Cleaning Concepts South Melbourne, the parent company of a franchise system for professional cleaning systems.
According to the ACCC, from August 2013, Coverall made misrepresentations to two franchisees about the volume of work they would receive and the frequency of payments they would receive for the work. The ACCC says the company did not have the grounds to make the claims and failed to make the specified payments.
Get daily business news.
The latest stories, funding information, and expert advice. Free to sign up.
The competition watchdog is also alleging the claims made by the business failed to comply with aspects of the Franchising Code of Conduct.
ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said in the statement the franchisees had “significantly weaker bargaining power than Coverall Melbourne”.
“Unconscionable conduct affecting small business is a priority area for the ACCC,” said Schaper.
“Micro-sized firms, franchisees and self-employed individuals should not be treated in a manner which goes beyond the bounds of commercially acceptable practice, or which is more than just hard bargaining.”
Coverall Melbourne director Brett Jones and sales manager Astrid Haley are also involved in the proceedings, with the ACCC alleging the duo “aided and abetted and were knowingly concerned in Coverall Melbourne’s alleged contraventions”.
Blundy buys up NT cattle station
Victoria-born retailer Brett Blundy has expanded his beef operations with the acquisition of a $6.5 million cattle station in the Northern Territory, reports Fairfax.
Blundy – who owns retail and property company BBRC, which owns brands such as Bras N Things – already owns three other beef stations in the NT. The acquisition of the Amungee Mungee Station near Katherine will boost the company’s cattle herd from 85,000 to 150,000.
“Brett always says he is a country boy at heart … so he has always been naturally interested in the space,” said a BBRC spokesperson. “He was just looking for the right opportunity.”
BBRC’s operation focus on live cattle exports as opposed to processed beef. The majority of the company’s exports go to Indonesia, with some also going to Vietnam.
Shares up on open
Aussie shares have opened higher this morning, as international markets recover from the hit taken from the Malaysia Airlines disaster last week.
“A rebound on Wall Street during Friday’s session has provided the impetus for our local sharemarket to eke out a small gain from the opening hour of trade,” said CMC Markets sales trader Niall King.
“Having dashed for the exits on Thursday as news of the Malaysia Airlines disaster and escalating tensions in the Middle East filtered through, investors found solid corporate results from heavyweights like Google too hard to resist, sending the major benchmarks back north,” said King.
The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 6.5 points to 5538.2 points at 11.35am AEST. Last week, the Dow Jones closed 123.37 points higher, up 0.73% to 17100.2 points.