The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received almost 3, 000 complaints and enquiries about small business or franchising in the first six months of 2013. ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper will launch the half yearly report into the sector during the COSBOA National Small Business Summit in Brisbane tomorrow.

“The ACCC is keen to ensure that small businesses are aware of their rights and responsibilities, and has stepped up its engagement with small business,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said. “Our Small Business in Focus report sets out the key issues the sector is raising with us.”

The biggest single issue remains misleading advertising and false representations, with over 1,000 complaints and enquiries received in the past year alone. These contacts include credence claims which have become an area of priority for the ACCC. Credence claims, such as country of origin or claims of product quality are designed to improve the appeal of a product when compared to similar products.

“Credence claims are important, and we need to protect honest small businesses who are selling premium products from unscrupulous competitors making false representations.”

“The ACCC has been very active in policing credence claims in a wide variety of different markets - from meat claiming to be sourced from King Island to Australian made tags on Ugg boots that are actually made in China,” Dr Schaper said.

The Small Business In Focus report also lists the sectors which are generating the most complaints and enquiries within the small business and franchising communities. They include:

  1. Advertising services
  2. ‘Non-store’ retailing (such as online retailers, milk vendors)
  3. ‘Other’ store-based retailing (e.g. art galleries, musical instrument stores, pet shops)
  4. Travel agency and tour arrangement services
  5. Wired telecommunication network operation

During the last six months, the ACCC also launched a free online education program for small business. More than 5,000 participants since its launch in April 2013. Another free online program, for would-be franchisees, also remains popular and has now had more than 4,500 completions. Both programs are available at

The small business, franchising and industry codes report is published every six months as part of the ACCC’s commitment to an open dialogue with the small business sector.

Small businesses and franchisees can make a complaint or an enquiry to the ACCC on the Small Business helpline 1300 302 021.