The Australian:

Mobile phone retailer Allphones could be forced to pay millions of dollars in damages after the corporate watchdog agreed to represent more than 100 franchisees pursuing allegedly withheld commissions.

In the next couple of weeks the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will meet franchisees across the country to discuss allegations Allphones Retail did not pay bonuses, rebates and compulsory charges. It is not clear when any action may begin.

Allphones has denied and contested the allegations.

The proposed class action will be based on similar grounds to the ongoing proceedings between the ACCC and Allphones Retail and key personnel — chief executive Matthew Donnellan, chief operating officer Tony Baker and former national franchising manager Ian Harkin — alleging the retailer breached franchise agreements.

The next directions discussions will take place on July 15.

The action does not include Allphones chairman Tony Mitchell, who was on the federal government’s expert panel that advised dropping the original tender process to build a national broadband network.

In January, the ACCC won a court order banning Allphones from offering preferential treatment to franchisees that took up new agreements.