The Federal government has passed an amendment to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 that increases the maximum penalty a court can impose for breaching the Australian Consumer Law. The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 3) Bill 2018 raised the maximum penalty from $1.1 million to either $10 million, three times the benefit obtained from the breach, or if that benefit cannot be determined, 10% of the businesses annual turnover.

This decision has been spurred by recent cases such as ACCC v Apple Pty Ltd (No 4) [2018] FCA 953, where the penalties given to giant corporations have been trivial compared to the company’s turnover. In this case, Apple was fined $9 million for telling consumers that they were not obliged to fix faults in their iPhones if the consumer had taken it to a third party for repair. However considering Apple’s US$48.35 billion dollar yearly profit, Justice Lee is just one of many that have noted that the penalty is the equivalent of ‘loose change’ to the tech giant. This is compared to the recent $6.8 billion fine given to Google in the EU for abusing its market dominance.

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