Fuji Xerox sued by ACCC for creating unfair contract terms with small businesses

The company's small business contracts allegedly contain 173 unfair contract terms.

Fuji Xerox has been sued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on allegations that the company created an imbalanced relationship with small businesses through the creation of unfair contracts.

Dragging Fuji Xerox to Federal Court, the ACCC has alleged that nine of the company's standard form business contracts contain a total of 173 unfair contract terms, such as automatic renewal terms, excessive exit fees, and unilateral price increases. 

According to the ACCC's originating claim, the contracts also contain disproportionate termination terms that allow Fuji Xerox to suspend or terminate contracts for minor breaches and compel small businesses to pay a termination amount.  

"We have received a number of complaints from small businesses alleging that some of the terms in Fuji's contracts have caused them significant financial harm," ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.

"The ACCC will argue that the unfair terms in these contracts cause a significant imbalance in the rights and obligations of Fuji and the small businesses they contract with."

The terms were found in contracts between Fuji Xerox and its small business customers for the supply of printing goods and services, and technical assistance, and have been used since at least October 2018, the ACCC said in a statement.  

As part of the lawsuit, ACCC has sought for these contracts to be void and an injunction to prevent Fuji Xerox from relying on these terms for any current or future contracts. 
 
The consumer watchdog is also seeking an order for a corrective notice, a compliance program, and costs.

At the start of the year, Fuji Xerox announced a rebrand and said it would like to be called Fujifilm Business Innovation as of 1 April 2021. The company said the decision was made as it wanted to focus on its existing businesses and expand into new business areas such as cloud, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.

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