Record $1.5m fine for contempt

Car servicing franchisor Ultra Tune has been fined a record $1.5 million for contempt of court.

The fine – the highest for a contempt proceeding brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – was issued by the Federal Court today after the company pleaded guilty to four charges.

The charges relate to Ultra Tune’s breach of orders that it provide disclosure documents and marketing fund statements to franchisees.

The orders were made in 2019 when the company was found to have breached provisions of the Australian Consumer Law and Franchising Code of Conduct. It was fined $2.604 million, which was reduced to $2.014 million on appeal.

In his decision today, Justice Bromwich found “…the evidence shows that the contempts that were charged were not out of character for Ultra Tune, but in fact a reflection of its corporate character which was insufficiently concerned with, and with effecting, compliance, even when it came to court orders”.

Ultra Tune has more than 260 car servicing centres across Australia.

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