Mobile retailer Allphones faces a class action lawsuit from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which will argue on behalf of 74 franchisees that the retailer engaged in unconscionable conduct.
Allphones has been accused by the ACCC of taking a decision not to forward payments from mobile phone manufacturers and network operators due to its franchisees as was agreed to under their commercial contracts.
"Under the class action, the ACCC is seeking damages for losses sustained by the represented franchisees which the ACCC alleges flowed from this alleged unconscionable conduct," the competition watchdog said in a statement today.
The latest legal suit adds to the pressure already applied to the company's director and chief executive officer, Matthew Donnellan; director and chief operating officer, Tony Baker; and former national franchising manager, Ian Harkin. The ACCC has previously claimed in separate legal action that they had discriminated against, threatened and withheld financial information from franchisees. A hearing date of 23 March 2010 has been set for ACCC's action on this matter that was launched in March last year.
Alphones has also given interim undertakings not to engage in negotiations with existing franchisees which contravenes the Trade Practices Act.
Proceedings for the class action have been set for directions hearing on 8 September 2009 before Justice Foster, the ACCC said.