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AUS: ACCC Takes McDonalds To Court

AUS: ACCC To Institute Proceedings Against McDonald's

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has decided to institute proceedings against McDonald's in relation to McDonald's 1999 'Monopoly McMatch & Win' promotion.

The promotion was run during June and July this year and offered various prizes such as motor vehicles, Disneyland holidays, camcorders, playstations, home computers, gift vouchers and televisions to McDonald's customers who acquired and completed a set of the 'McMatch & Win' game stamps.

The ACCC will allege that the conduct of McDonald's contravenes the misleading and deceptive conduct provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 by implying that all game stamps distributed to McDonald's customers during the 1999 promotion were valid game stamps when some were later rejected as invalid.

The ACCC will further allege false and misleading conduct by McDonald's over customers right to claim a prize for game stamps which appear to be 1998 game stamps but were issued during the 1999 promotion. The ACCC will allege unconscionable conduct by McDonald's in refusing to award prizes.

In view of the group proceedings under way in the Federal Court in Brisbane, the ACCC has decided not to take representative action under the Trade Practices Act. The Brisbane action will provide consumers with a greater array of relief than is possible for the ACCC using the Trade Practices Act. These include remedies under contract law and tort law. The ACCC action will be conducted only under the Trade Practices Act. Consumers must give written notice to the Registrar of the Federal Court, Brisbane by 4pm Monday 27 September 1999 if they wish to opt out of the Brisbane proceedings. Consumers should contact Brisbane law firm Shine Roche McGowan that is running the Brisbane proceedings for information.

"The ACCC has conducted extensive investigations since it first received allegations from consumers in June," ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today.

The ACCC has received more than 1,000 complaints from consumers. The investigations that have been conducted reveal a similar theme. There are many credible persons from all walks of life who in the ACCC's opinion are not mistaken, who say they received the game stamps which have been invalidated by McDonald's during the 1999 promotion and not during 1998.

It is expected that the ACCC will file proceedings in the Federal Court, Sydney tomorrow, Friday 24 September 1999.

23 September 1999

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