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ACCC comes down hard on AMI


ACCC comes down hard on AMI


In a rivalry spanning the last decade (with plenty of ups and downs) the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday commenced yet more proceedings against the Advanced Medical Institute (AMI) in the Federal Court, this time alleging the company failed to tell existing and potential customers it was insolvent, and that AMI accepted advance payment for services despite a risk it will not be able to provide promised premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction treatments.

The erection protection clinic was placed into administration in December, one day after the ACCC filed proceedings against it for alleged engagement in 'unconscionable conduct' towards consumers. That case is still ongoing, and claimed that AMI's doctors conducted consultations with patients, "in a manner which did not provide an appropriate diagnosis and medical treatment of male sexual dysfunction," and additionally that AMI staff told patients they were entitled to a refund should the treatment not work but didn't disclose the conditions of eligibility for said refund.

Yesterday's filing is the latest case in an expanding history of court actions involving the two parties dating back to April 2002, when the national watchdog pulled up the impotence treatment provider for "false, misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the advertising and promotion of treatments for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation." A later case dragged television celebrity Ian Turpie into the tussle after he was used in a national newspaper campaign claiming that AMI's treatments had cured his little problem, when in fact they hadn't. Whether that means he never had the condition, or he was (or even is) still suffering from it was not known at the time of writing this article.

The ACCC is seeking injunctions that would require AMI to disclose its administration status, let customers know how this could affect their contracts and prevent the company from accepting any more payments for goods and services. At the time of writing the AMI website was still online and accepting bookings for consultations. 

UPDATE 10/6: The ACCC announced today that it had obtained interim orders requiring the Advanced Medical Institute to inform clients of its insolvency. Prominent notices should be appearing on its website, and letters will be sent out over the next two weeks.

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