ACCC bats for the little guy, takes Google to court

The ACCC is taking the Trading Post and Google to court over misleading conduct

A David and Goliath battle is set to take place in the Federal Court of Australia. The ACCC on Wednesday instituted legal proceedings against Google and the Trading Post claiming the two companies have engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.

Specifically, the ACCC alleges that Trading Post Australia Pty Ltd, Google Inc, Google Ireland Limited and Google Australia Pty Ltd contravened sections 52 and 53(d) of the Trade Practices Act 1974 in 2005 when the business names of Newcastle, NSW-based car dealerships Kloster Ford and Charlestown Toyota appeared in Google search.

Rather than appearing at the top of a search page when the business names were entered into the search engine, users were first greeted with the Trading Post URL instead.

According to the ACCC, unsuspecting customers would click on the Trading Post link, unaware that it was not the site they were after.

"Further, the ACCC is alleging that Google, by failing to adequately distinguish sponsored links from "organic" search results, has engaged and continues to engage in misleading and deceptive conduct in breach of section 52 of the Act," said a statement on the ACCC site.

According to the statement on the ACCC site, the watchdog is seeking:

  • declarations that Trading Post contravened sections 52 and 53(d) of the Act
  • declarations that Google contravened section 52 of the Act
  • injunctions restraining Trading Post from representing through sponsored links in association, sponsorship or affiliation with another business where one does not exist
  • injunctions restraining Google from publishing sponsored links of advertisers representing an association, sponsorship or affiliation where one does not exist
  • injunctions restraining Google from publishing search results that do not expressly distinguish advertisements from organic search results
  • orders that Trading Post and Google implement trade practices compliance programs
  • an order that Google publish a notice on its website outlining the above, and costs.

"Google Australia believes that these claims are without merit and we will defend against them vigorously. They represent an attack on all search engines and the Australian businesses, large and small, who use them to connect with customers throughout the world," said Google Australia spokesperson Rob Shilkin.

A Directions Hearing in Sydney is set for August 21 in front of Justice Allsop.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Howard Dahdah

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?