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.
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.
The ACCC has found that franchisors in the food services sector are commonly providing inadequate information to potential franchisees.
In its most recent round of compliance checks of the franchising industry, the ACCC reviewed disclosure documents from a sample of 12 franchisors in the food services sector and found many were problematic.
The Federal Court has ordered that Domain Corp Pty Ltd and Domain Name Agency Pty Ltd (also trading as Domain Name Register) pay combined penalties of $1.95 million for breaching the Australian Consumer Law.
From November 2015 to at least April 2017, the two Domain Companies sent out approximately 300,000 unsolicited notices to businesses, which looked like a renewal invoice for the business’s existing domain name. Instead, these notices were for the registration of a new domain name at a cost ranging from $249 to $275.
ATM provider Cardtronics has admitted that its subsidiary, DC Payments, offered contract terms with small business that may be unfair under the Australian Consumer Law.
Cardtronics has given a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC to change terms that may be unfair for businesses under existing contracts.
“Business contracts need to balance the rights of each party to ensure they aren’t unfair, as smaller firms may not always be in a strong negotiating position,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
Chairman Rod Sims has announced the ACCC’s product safety priorities for 2018 at the National Consumer Congress. Mr Sims has reaffirmed the ACCC's support for a general safety provision to be introduced in Australia law to reduce the risk of unsafe goods entering the market, and the nine critical safety issues facing Australian consumers.
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 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken action over the last six months to ensure small business have a level playing field, as revealed in the 14th edition of the ACCC’s Small Business in Focus report.
“The ACCC is committed to ensuring small businesses receive the protections of the new business-to-business unfair contract terms law, franchising and other industry codes,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
The ACCC has conducted an in-depth investigation into the contracts of Carlton United Breweries (CUB) and Lion Pty Limited (Lion) after allegations from some craft brewers that the major brewers were locking them out of beer taps in pubs, clubs and live venues through the use of exclusivity provisions and volume requirements.