TRADE PRACTICES COMMISSION V. COMMODORE BUSINESS MACHINES PTY LTD (1989) ATPR 40-976
Federal Court of Australia – 3 August 1989
Respondent supplied personal computers to 150 dealers around the country, requiring a commitment in writing that the computers would not be advertised at less than the recommended retail price. They obtained legal advice that this clause would be lawful so long as dealers recognised that they could sell the computers at whatever price they wished. Commodore threatened a number of dealers that supply would be withheld or dealerships cancelled unless the product was advertised at the recommended price. TPC contacted Commodore and advised that the conduct was a breach of the resale price maintenance provisions of the Act. A month later, Commodore wrote to the relevant dealers advising that the dealers could sell the computers at whatever price they wished.
Commodore argued that it merely wanted the computers to be advertised at a certain price and did nothing to prevent discounts. In relation to penalty, Commodore argued that it had acted on legal advice in the first place and had changed its practices as soon as the Commission notified it of alleged breaches.
Imposition of penalties and injunctions and the effect of legal advice in mitigating these penalties.