Carsales defeats rival in court
Victoria’s Supreme Court has found News Corp’s Carsguide.com.au misled consumers through an advertising campaign that accused its major rival of selling customers’ information without their knowledge.
Supreme Court judge, James Judd, found the company engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in a series of advertisements attacking Carsales.com.au.
“I find that by making the representations through its advertising campaign the defendant has engaged in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive the Australian public,” Justice Judd said in his findings.
ASX-listed Carsales, which is the dominant player in the Australian online vehicle classifieds sector, launched legal proceedings against Carsguide last month after previously sending its rival a cease and desist order over the ads.
The advertisements, which ran on TV and radio, as well in newspapers and on billboards, claimed Carsales was tracking confidential information about customers and selling them to car dealers without the customer’s knowledge.
Justice Judd found the claim was false.
He found that while Carsales did provide details to dealers, the process was made clear to customers.
He also noted that Carsguide operated under a similar, though not identical, business model.
“In my opinion, the provision of contact information by the plaintiff (Carsales) and defendant (Carsguide) to client dealers was a material part of the package of services each offered,” Justice Judd said.
Carsales CEO, Greg Roebuck, welcomed the result.
“We are pleased with this outcome and expect that it will lead Carsguide.com.au to take a different and more reasonable and balanced approach to its advertising campaigns in the future,” he said in a statement.