There are more than two million small businesses actively trading across the country. Each of these small businesses have rights and responsibilities under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The ACCC is committed to communicating with small businesses clearly and promptly. While we generally do not get involved in individual disputes, a key role of the ACCC is to provide guidance to small businesses and to help them deal with their individual matter. Where possible, the ACCC will also direct small businesses to alternate dispute resolution processes.
Our ACCC Commissioner with a special focus on small business, franchising, industry associations and business liaison, enables us to be more pro-active in encouraging fair-trading and strengthening competition in the small business sector.
See: What we can & can't do for small business
Several areas of the ACCC’s work has a direct impact on small businesses.
Certain business practices that limit or prevent competition are against the law. It is important that small businesses understand their rights and obligations at all times, in particular when dealing with wholesalers, suppliers and other businesses.
Business rights & protections
As a small business, you have certain rights and protections under the law. If, for example, a good or a service purchased by your business does not do what it is supposed to do, or if you see something wrong such as false or misleading claims or anti-competitive behaviour, the ACCC wants to hear from you.
Unfair contract terms
As a small business, you may be required to enter into standard form contracts when dealing with other businesses. Or you may choose to use them when dealing with your customers. It's important that you are aware of your rights and obligations under the new unfair contract terms law.
Treating customers fairly
Small businesses have obligations under the law to treat their customers fairly. It is important that you understand your customers’ rights.
Country of origin claims
Any country of origin claim you make about the products you offer should be clear, accurate and truthful. If your business chooses to make a country of origin claim, or is required by law to do so, you must ensure the claim is not false or misleading.
The ACCC regulates mandatory and voluntary industry codes including the Franchising Code, the Horticulture Code, the Oilcode and the Food and Grocery Code. We can provide guidance to industries looking to develop their own voluntary industry code.
Buying a franchise can be an exciting and rewarding experience, however, there are some things you need to know about your rights and obligations under the Franchising Code of Conduct. We provide guidance for both franchisors and franchisees.
Collective bargaining and boycotts
The ACCC has for many years authorised small business collective bargaining arrangements. The ACCC aims to offer a streamlined process for parties seeking authorisation of collective bargaining arrangements.
As a business you must make sure that all consumer products you supply are safe and meet consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law. You can’t sell banned products and you must ensure that your products or product-related services comply with relevant mandatory standards before they are offered for sale.
Protect your small business
Scammers recognise that small business operators are busy and have fewer resources than large businesses, so they aim to take advantage of that. If you see something that could be a scam we want to hear from you.
The Small Business and Franchising Consultative Committee was established by the ACCC to provide a forum where competition and consumer law concerns related to the small business and franchising sectors could be discussed by industry and government.
The ACCC offers a free subscription service for those small businesses who wish to stay up-to-date on small business or franchising developments.
The ACCC has a number of resources for small businesses. Our free online education program for small businesses contains 13 short modules covering topics such as pricing, advertising, consumer rights, selling safe products and unlawful competition. We also have a program for people thinking about buying a franchise and one for tertiary students studying a business-related course.
Small business in focus
Small business disputes
Moving to the NBN for small business