Car service franchisor Ultra Tune fined $1.5 million for contempt of court - SUV VEHICLE

Car service franchisor Ultra Tune fined $1.5 million for contempt of court


The Federal Court has found Ultra Tune to be in contempt of court, in proceedings initiated by the federal consumer watchdog.

Ultra Tune has been fined $1.5 million for defying court orders.

It sets a record as the highest fine issued for a contempt of court proceeding initiated by the government watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Ultra Tune, which has a network of mechanic workshops throughout the country, was found to have breached Australian Consumer Law and the Franchising Code of Conduct in 2019 – with the company being fined more than $2.6 million at the time.

As a result of the finding, the Court ordered the company to provide disclosure documents and marketing fund statements to its franchisees in compliance with the Franchising Code, as well as implement a compliance program to help stop any future breaches.

According to a written statement from the ACCC, Ultra Tune failed to comply with the orders in time – and in one instance, issued a marketing fund statement eight months later than was required.

“The ACCC took this action because it was concerned that Ultra Tune had failed to improve its compliance with the requirements of the Franchising Code despite previous ACCC action and court-imposed penalties,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said.

“These fines for contempt demonstrate the importance of compliance with court orders.”

In 2016, the Advertising Standards Board banned an Ultra Tune television commercial for its portrayal of women as being “unintelligent” and “helpless”.

In 2019, an Ultra Tune TV ad starring Charlie Sheen was also banned by the Standards Board, with claims it “[reinforced] the stereotype of women drivers being incompetent, clueless, and vulnerable in general”.

Ben Zachariah

Ben Zachariah is an experienced writer and motoring journalist from Melbourne, having worked in the automotive industry for more than two decades. Ben began writing professionally more than 15 years ago and was previously an interstate truck driver. He completed his MBA in Finance in early 2021 and is considered an expert on classic car investment.

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