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Takata airbag warning ahead of holidays

The ACCC is urging drivers of vehicles with defective Takata airbags installed to check  if their car is affected by the biggest global vehicle recall in history before driving long distances this summer. 

The airbag’s inflator component deteriorates over time and may misdeploy when the airbag is triggered in an accident, causing metal fragments to propel out of the airbag towards the vehicle occupants. Around the world, there have been serious injuries and deaths from these faulty Takata airbags, including one death in Australia in July and a serious injury in April 2017.

Of particular concern, there are around 43,000 cars on Australian roads known to contain the most dangerous types of faulty airbags, called ‘alpha’ airbags. Takata alpha airbags have a manufacturing flaw, as they were not produced according to design standards and do not deploy as intended. These airbags pose the most severe risk of misdeploying during a car accident. 

The higher risk alpha airbags were installed in some models of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Mazda and Lexus cars, sold in Australia sold in Australia from around 2001 to around 2004.  

“We urge drivers of vehicles with alpha airbags installed to immediately book in to have their airbags replaced before driving anywhere over the Christmas holiday period. There is a significant and much higher risk of injury or death involved in driving vehicles fitted with these alpha airbags,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“As we approach the festive season, many of us are driving longer distances, so it is vital to act now to avoid a tragedy.  If you have a car that contains an ‘alpha’ airbag, our advice is to not to drive it until the airbag has been replaced.”

You can check on whether your vehicle has an alpha airbag installed at Product Safety Australia.

Overall since 2009, more than 2.7 million vehicles in Australia with defective Takata airbags have been voluntarily recalled, including some models of vehicles manufactured by Honda, Toyota, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Lexus, Ferrari and Nissan.

“If your vehicle has been recalled and it does not have an alpha airbag, it still needs to be replaced and you should contact your vehicle dealer or manufacturer to book in a time to have the defective Takata airbag replaced as soon as possible. Do not delay responding to a letter from your car’s manufacturer or retailer asking you to have your car’s airbag replaced,” Ms Rickard said.

More cars are being added to the list over time so it’s important to check regularly. The replacement is free for all affected consumers. Check if your car has been recalled at Product Safety Australia.

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Merrill Lynch Equities (Australia) Ltd pays $140,000 in infringement notice penalty

Merrill Lynch Equities (Australia) Limited ('MLEA') has paid a total penalty of $140,000 to comply with an infringement notice given to it by the Markets Disciplinary Panel ('the MDP').

The MDP found that between July 2014 and April 2016, MLEA:
  • executed orders contrary to wholesale clients' instructions to opt out of the 'best execution' rule;
  • failed to conduct adequate periodic reviews to ensure that it could comply with those instructions;
  • failed to permit wholesale clients to opt out of its crossing systems by allowing trades to be executed on its crossing system; and
  • entered into transactions on behalf of clients without instructions to do so.
These actions gave the MDP reasonable grounds to believe that MLEA contravened the ASIC Market Integrity Rules (Competition in Exchange Markets) 2011 and ASIC Market Integrity Rules (Chi-X Australia Market) 2011.

Despite ASIC issuing a 'Warning Letter' during that period, MLEA failed to undertake adequate remedial action to prevent ongoing breaches in relation to client instructions.  This highlights the need for participants to ensure that their compliance reviews and remediation procedures and resources are appropriate for the size and complexity of the underlying business.

The MDP found that MLEA's conduct was careless and there was no suggestion that MLEA intended to mislead its clients.

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ACCC homes in on better broadband speed info for consumers

The ACCC has today announced SamKnows as the successful tenderer to undertake its $6.5 million broadband speeds monitoring program, which will see broadband speeds recorded across 4000 Australian homes over the next four years.

The appointment of SamKnows to deliver the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia program follows the conclusion of a competitive open tender conducted in accordance with Commonwealth government requirements.

Over the first year of the program, some 2000 households will receive testing devices, with the results of the speed tests being reported on publically by the end of the first quarter in 2018.

“Our Measuring Broadband Australia program is going to be a real game changer for internet users and for the broadband market, especially as consumers shop around for NBN services,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“We’ve had more than 8000 households sign up to take part in the program, and we’re pleased to be launching this in the next month. There will be a huge amount of interest in the results,” Mr Sims said.

Alex Salter, CEO of SamKnows, said “We are excited to launch Measuring Broadband Australia. We will work hard to help improve Australian internet performance with accurate and independent data. We thank the ACCC for the opportunity and encourage everyone, consumers and industry alike, to get involved in this important project.”

The ACCC also today revealed the findings of its initial review of whether NBN broadband advertising has improved following the publication of its industry guidance in August. This is aimed to ensure customers receive clearer information about the broadband speeds they can expect to receive when comparing services.

“We are pleased to report that Telstra and Optus have recently changed their marketing information to provide their customers with comparable information about the typical busy period broadband speeds that they can expect on various plans,” Mr Sims said.

“The remainder of the industry continues to advertise internet plans using unhelpful speed ranges, referencing off-peak speeds or failing to provide consumers with any information about the speed of their services during busy hours.”

“Potential customers trying to compare the internet services of the various providers cannot make an informed judgment about the busy period speeds they will receive. We have serious concerns about that and will be considering whether there is potential for misleading conduct that would constitute a breach of the ACL,” Mr Sims said.

“The ACCC has been very clear with industry about our expectations and consumer needs. Providers should give consumers accurate, understandable, and comparable information about the internet speeds their plans will deliver.”

“Consumers switching providers should be asking for the typical speed of the NBN broadband plan during the busy evening period,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC has published updated information on broadband speeds to help consumers make informed decisions.

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Recent News

Takata airbag warning ahead of holidays 11/12/2017 9:17:35 PM
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Merrill Lynch Equities (Australia) Ltd pays $140,000 in infringement notice penalty 8/12/2017 8:25:21 PM
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ACCC homes in on better broadband speed info for consumers 6/12/2017 1:16:05 AM
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