ACCC launches action against online business directory

The corporate watchdog has launched proceedings against online business directory publisher AustraliaLink and its director Rachel Dargie and general manager Desmond O’Keefe.

The company publishes a number of online business directories, including the Australian Business Pages Directory.

The ACCC is alleging that AustraliaLink has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct, breaching parts of the Trade Practices Act.

The ACCC alleges that the forms by which AustraliaLink solicits listings for its directories contain representations that are misleading or deceptive, or likely to mislead or deceive recipients about whether they had prior dealings with AustraliaLink.

The ACCC says that AustraliaLink sent out notices purporting to be official court forms in pursuit of payment for its directory listing services.

It has alleged that AustraliaLink intended to trick, confuse, mislead or deceive recipients into signing and returning forms it used to solicit orders.

It also used unfair tactics against the recipients, alleges the ACCC, and failed to disclose to businesses that the intended conduct of AustraliaLink that might affect their interests, and failed to act in good faith.

The ACCC is seeking injunctions restraining AustraliaLink, Dargie and O’Keefe from engaging in similar conduct in the future, that the company contravened sections of the Trade Practices Act and orders that AustraliaLink write to businesses invoiced by the company notifying them of the orders made by the court. The matter is set down for hearing on 15 December.

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