Fuji Xerox Scandal Continues, ACCC Slams Unfair Contracts
Printing giant Fuji Xerox has been embroiled in another scandal, with the ACCC slamming nine types of associated small business contracts (173 unfair terms), following “a number of complaints.”
The news follows an exclusive ChannelNews report on several Fuji Xerox associated business recently being placed into ‘external administration.’
Earlier this year, Fuji Xerox Australia reportedly launched legal action against two former executives over an accounting scandal which is dubbed to have notably hampered local operations.
Back in 2017, Fuji Xerox parent Fujifilm Holdings post a loss of NZ$284 million, which later blew out to NZ$472 million after further losses were uncovered in the Australian operation.
The company is reportedly also battling over missing assets between former management.
Announced today, the ACCC alleges Fuji Xerox Australia and a related company (together ‘Fuji’) had many unfair contract terms including; automatic renewal terms, excessive exit fees and unilateral price increases.
The consumer watchdog states offending terms were used between Fuji and its small business customers for the supply of printing goods and services plus technical assistance since at least October 2018.
“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,” states ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh.
“Some of the unilateral variation terms allow Fuji to modify contracts by creating new rights and obligations, including increasing prices, without notifying its customers and without giving them any corresponding right to negotiate or reject”
“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 watchdog is seeking declarations that the contract terms are unfair and therefore void, plus an injunction to prevent Fuji from relying on such terms in its current contracts, or future contracts.
“This court action by the ACCC should prompt all other traders in the printing support industry to review their standard form contracts and make any necessary changes to remove unfair contract terms,” adds Keogh.
The ACCC is also seeking an order for corrective notice, plus compliance program and costs.
Further information is available on the ACCC’s website here.
The linked document contains the ACCC’s initiating court documents in relation to this matter.