Business responsibilities

Small businesses navigate pandemic, misconduct and scams

A business contacting the ACCC between January and June this year was most likely reporting false and misleading conduct, asking about their obligations to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic or raising concerns about consumer guarantees.

That’s according to the latest Small Business in Focus report, which details the ACCC’s work in the first half of 2020 across the small business, franchising and agriculture sectors.

Bob Jane gives undertaking in relation to franchise agreements

Bob Jane Corporation Pty Ltd (Bob Jane) has given the ACCC a court-enforceable undertaking to comply with its obligations under the Franchising Code of Conduct in relation to renewal and extension of franchising agreements.

The ACCC was concerned that Bob Jane failed to comply with its obligations under the Code relating to end of term and renewal of agreements. In particular, Bob Jane failed to notify some franchisees whether it intended to renew or extend their franchise agreements at least six months before the expiry of their agreements.

Electricity market misconduct

Part XICA of the Competition and Consumer Act applies to all electricity generators and to retailers that generate and supply electricity to small customers. Part XICA establishes three specific prohibitions targeting certain conduct in electricity markets. The prohibitions relate to retail pricing, financial contract market conduct and conduct in electricity spot markets.

False and misleading conduct key issue for small businesses

Reports to the ACCC by small businesses about false and misleading conduct by other businesses including suppliers increased by eight per cent, totalling more than 900, in the six months to 31 December 2019.

This issue continues to be the Australian Consumer Law issue most commonly affecting small businesses, and accounts for over a third of small business reports made to the ACCC, according to the latest Small Business in Focus Report, published today.

Changes needed to protect consumers using customer loyalty schemes

Improvements to customer loyalty schemes and broader legislative reforms are required to protect consumers using loyalty schemes, according to the ACCC’s final report into customer loyalty schemes released today.

The report recommends loyalty schemes, such as frequent flyer, supermarket and hotel operators, better inform consumers, improve their data practices and stop automatically linking members’ payment cards to their loyalty scheme profiles. It also calls for broader changes to consumer and privacy law.