Small business contacts up 30 per cent

22 January 2018

Almost 5,000 small businesses contacted the ACCC in the second half of 2017, up from 3,700 in the preceding six months, according to the latest edition of the Small business in focus released today.

“Alleged misleading conduct, false representations and consumer guarantees remained the top issues reported to the ACCC by business last year,” ACCC Acting Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

The report highlights a number of recent changes affecting small businesses including competition law reform, the ban on excessive payment surcharges and the new laws for unfair contract terms.

“Many of the businesses contacting us are at least ten years old. Despite being well established, there is an obvious need for up-to-date information and advice to deal with various competition and consumer challenges,” Dr Schaper said.

“As business regulation continues to evolve, small businesses are encouraged to learn more about their rights and responsibilities. The ACCC is always working to ensure that information and advice is readily available for business.”

Our recently updated Small Business & the Competition and Consumer Act is a comprehensive guide to the law for small businesses. It provides essential information on pricing, unfair contract terms, treating customers fairly, selling safe products and resolving disputes.

The report is available at : Small business in focus – 1 July to 31 December 2017

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ACCC Small Business Helpline: 1300 302 021


Report highlights:

  • From July-December 2017, 4,946 small businesses, 279 franchise businesses and 255 agricultural traders contacted the ACCC.
  • Over 1000 reports related to misleading conduct or false representations and nearly 500 reports related to consumer guarantees.
  • The ACCC’s online small business resources received almost 750,000 webpage views in the past six months.
  • Over the last six months, two-thirds of all business contacts to the ACCC were from micro businesses (businesses with zero to four staff).
  • The ACCC took enforcement action for alleged breaches of the Franchising Code, including court action and penalties against Pastacup franchisor Morild Pty Ltd and issued an infringement notice to West Aust Couriers Pty Ltd trading as Fastway Couriers (Perth).
  • The ACCC issued infringement notices to Red Balloon Pty Ltd for alleged breaches of the new excessive payment surcharges laws.
  • The ACCC took court action against JJ Richards & Sons Pty Ltd, and Servcorp Ltd and two of its subsidiaries for alleged unfair contract terms against small businesses.
  • The ACCC released an interim report on the competitiveness of prices, trading practices and the supply chain in the Australian dairy industry.
  • In December 2017 the ACCC released the New car retailing market study – final report which includes a number of recommendations addressing competition and consumer issues in the new car industry.
Release number: 
MR 2/18
ACCC Infocentre: 

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