In recognition of the ongoing situation with COVID-19, the ACCC has extended the due date for responses to the purchasers survey to 22 April 2020 and submissions to the discussion paper to 31 May 2020.
Agricultural machinery is a significant capital item for a farm, involving substantial upfront and ongoing costs. This is increasingly the case with advances in computerisation and sophistication of design. Well-informed purchasers and competitive markets are therefore likely to deliver considerable benefits to the agricultural sector.
The ACCC has set out to gain a better understanding of how the agricultural machinery industry operates, while focusing on key issues that have come to our attention relating to manufacturer warranties, and servicing and repairs. Since April 2018, we have consulted with stakeholders at the farmer, dealer and industry body level about their experiences in relation to purchasing and repairing agricultural machinery. We also sought additional information from manufacturers of several machinery brands commonly sold in Australia.
In February 2020 the ACCC released a discussion paper which identified a number of initial concerns about issues which may be harmful to competition and to purchasers of agricultural machinery, specifically that:
- access to independent agricultural machinery repairs is limited
- farmers may lack recourse in the event of a problem with their machinery
- agreements between manufacturers and dealers may limit access to repairs
- data ownership and management may raise privacy and competition concerns.
Until April and May 2020, the ACCC is seeking further information and feedback from stakeholders, via a survey and submissions, to better understand the extent of the concerns identified in this discussion paper. This further engagement with market participants may lead to a range of outcomes.