Role of the ACCC
The ACCC is responsible for administering the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), including the ACL. The ACCC has power to issue statutory notices seeking documents and information. A business may be required to provide any information or documents to that ACCC capable of substantiating any claims made on their social media sites promoting the supply of goods, services, employment, or land. Failure to comply with such a requirement, or complying in a false or misleading manner, is an offence which can lead to a fine or pecuniary penalty.
If the ACCC has reasonable grounds to believe that a business has made a false or misleading representation, it may issue an infringement notice (which, in effect, is a fine) or institute court proceedings.
The ACCC Compliance and Enforcement Policy assists the agency to determine its response to an alleged contravention of the ACL. This policy refers to matters such as:
- whether the conduct is of significant public interest or concern
- whether the conduct results in substantial consumer detriment
- conduct that is industry wide or likely to become widespread if the ACCC does not intervene.
Whether or not the ACCC takes action, a business affected by the misleading or deceptive conduct has the right to take its own legal proceedings seeking orders restraining the objectionable conduct, or requiring the contravening business to pay damages for any loss it has caused.