Small business concerns continue to rise

26 July 2016

Small business enquiries and complaints to the national competition agency continue to grow, topping more than 7,600 contacts in the first half of 2016.

"We're continuing to see an increasing number of contacts from the Australian SME sector. These contacts have been particularly concerned about misleading conduct by other firms, consumer guarantees, and agricultural issues," ACCC Deputy Chairman Dr Michael Schaper said.

The ACCC's six-monthly Small Business In Focus report #12 has been released today, providing an update on key developments in the small business, franchising, and agriculture sectors.

For the first time, information on the agriculture sector has been included. The ACCC received more than 200 agriculture-related enquiries and complaints, principally focussed on potential misleading conduct or false representations made by other business operators.

Other key developments in the last six months are also highlighted in the report:

  • there have been more than half a million visits to the ACCC's business web pages;
  • the ACCC continues to receive reports of losses to scams targeting small businesses, with $1.6m lost;
  • new rules for country of origin labelling have commenced (Country of origin food labelling laws);
  • Coles, Woolworths, and Aldi are now required to comply with the entire Food and Grocery Code
  • there were more than12,000 users of the ACCC's online education programs.

“The number of small businesses contacting the ACCC with concerns has risen steadily over the past few years. The current review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) provides a valuable opportunity for small business to speak up and ensure that their concerns are taken into account during that process,” Dr Schaper said.

“Concerns about changes to new credit card surcharging laws in September, and new changes to the ACL that will extend protections from unfair contract terms in business-to-business dealings in November are expected to generate significant interest from the Small Business community."

The ACCC has prepared advice for small business on the new credit card surcharging laws (Excessive payment surcharges) and new Unfair Contract Term protections (Business-to-business unfair contract terms).

Small Business in Focus is available at: Small business in focus - 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2016

The ACCC small business helpline is 1300 302 021.

Release number: 
MR 136/16
ACCC Infocentre: 

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