Economy

Zen Telecom fined $220,000 for employees pretending to be from Telstra; Lorna Jane no longer for sale: Midday Roundup

Eloise Keating /

The Federal Court has ordered Zen Telecom to pay $225,000 after its telemarketers breached Australian Consumer Law by pretending to work for Telstra, in a court case initiated by consumer watchdog the ACCC.

Between September 2012 and August 2013, cold-call telemarketers working for Zen Telecom told callers they worked for Telstra or were acting on its behalf, despite not having any affiliation with the telecommunications giant.

ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement Zen did not record the first part of its sales calls, in which the telemarketers told callers they were calling on behalf of Telstra.

“The ACCC was concerned that by the time consumers progressed to the second stage of the call where they agreed to acquire services from Zen Telecom, they had already been misled by misrepresentations of an association or affiliation with Telstra which had been made during the marketing part of the call,” Court said.

The court found Zen also committed a number of other breaches of Australian Consumer Law. These included failing to provide customers with a contract within five working days, not providing a supplying services during the cooling off period, and not providing customers with an agreement clearly stating the company’s address.

Lorna Jane no longer for sale

Australian activewear brand Lorna Jane is no longer searching for a new owner, according to a report from Fairfax this morning.

Speculation emerged in May that founders Lorna Jane and Bill Clarkson and private equity firm CHAMP Ventures were looking to sell the popular brand, with a reported price tag of up to $500 million.

But Fairfax reports the owners have withdrawn the business from sale after offers from several private equity groups failed to impress.

It is believed London-based Permira and Bain Capital were both interested in the company.

The Clarksons continue to own a majority stake in the business they founded in 1990. Lorna Jane currently has 150 stores in Australia and the US and in the 2013 financial year, recorded profits of $19.6 million.

Shares regain morning losses

The ASX200 has bounced back from early morning losses, inching above the 5290 benchmark, having fallen to below 5250 points earlier this morning.

CMC Markets chief analyst Ric Spooner said unrest in Hong Kong is affected local market sentiment, while the mining sector is continuing the feel the pain of falling commodity prices, particularly oil and copper.

“Investors are likely to remain hesitant while the downward commodity price momentum flowing from softer Chinese economic statistics, a strong US dollar and growing supply capacity continues,” he said.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 1.5 points to 5294.3 points at 11.58am AEST. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones closed 28.32 points lower, down 0.17% to 17042.9 points.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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