Carbon tax repeal for consumers
The Australian Government repealed the carbon tax on 17 July 2014 and gave the ACCC extra powers to ensure that consumers see the benefits as quickly as possible.
Our extra powers focus on regulated goods – electricity, natural gas and synthetic greenhouse gases (typically refrigerant gases) – because these were the goods most significantly affected by the carbon tax. The Minister has the power to add to the list of regulated goods if necessary.
All goods and services are also covered by laws that deal with false and misleading claims. Businesses must not make false or misleading claims about the effect of the carbon tax or its repeal on their prices.
Businesses that had been passing on their carbon tax costs should now be passing through the benefit of the carbon tax repeal to consumers by removing those costs – particularly those costs associated with key goods such as electricity or gas.
Consumers will see information from gas and electricity retailers on estimated cost savings by 15 September 2014. This is called a statement to customers.
Key businesses making certain regulated supplies must also put information on estimated cost savings up on the business’ website until the end of 30 June 2015. This is called a carbon tax removal substantiation statement.
As the costs of regulated goods come down, other businesses will be able to pass these savings on to consumers and the benefits of the carbon tax repeal will flow through.
You have a right not to be misled by any claims about the effect of the carbon tax or its repeal on prices. Ask questions so you can make informed choices about products and services.
Wherever possible shop around for the best deal and test any claims made about the effect of the carbon tax or its repeal on prices.
Discuss the matter first
If you are not happy with a price discuss the matter with the business first if you can. There may be a good reason why prices have not come down yet and the business may be considering refunds in your next bill.
Report anti-competitive conduct to the ACCC
As always, if you think businesses you are dealing with might be agreeing on prices with competitors or trying to keep other businesses from lowering their prices – report it to the ACCC.
Watch out for carbon-related scams operating via phone calls or emails, which may include:
- offering to pay money such as a refund as a result of the carbon tax repeal into your bank account
- claiming you need to pay or transfer money to receive a compensation payment or tax refund
- asking survey questions about carbon.
If you receive such a call or email, verify the details independently.
Information about how to protect yourself from scams is available at www.scamwatch.gov.au.