The Age on Dally Messenger III and the ACCC: false, unfair and costly report Suzanne Carbone and Lawrence Money
This time, it's Dally's funeral
Suzanne Carbone and Lawrence Money of The Age in Melbourne
May 18, 2007
DALLY Messenger is the name stamped on rugby league's equivalent of the Brownlow Medal. It is also the name being stamped on legal papers that have so far cost Messenger's grandson $20,000 defending himself against the consumer watchdog.
Dally Messenger III is being taken to the Federal Court by Graeme Samuel's ACCC, which claims he tried to induce civil celebrants to price-fix for funeral services.
This followed a letter sent by Messenger, a celebrant, to funeral directors on behalf of his colleagues, asking that their fee be lifted from $350 to $440.
"Dally can't believe the injustice of it," said an insider. "He actually spoke against the fee rise at the meeting where other celebrants voted in favour. He was chairman. They wanted the fee lifted but Dally says celebrants should charge by the hour instead.
"They decided to send a begging letter to the funeral directors and he put his name to it because he was not directly involved any more. He has not done a funeral for two years. The funeral parlours have black-listed him because he charges by the hour."
Messenger told Diary he could not comment publicly on the case. He confirmed that he was due to attend mediation next month.
Diary understands other Victorian celebrants have chipped in to help 69-year-old Messenger with his legal costs, but he is still well out of pocket.
One celebrant told Diary: "It's outrageous. The more decent funeral directors accepted the request and pay the higher fee. But someone else complained to the ACCC. Dally tried to find out who it was through (freedom-of-information laws) but they won't release the details. And because the case is in the Federal Court, you need a QC. Dally needs top legal advice. It costs a fortune and he's an old-age pensioner."
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