The Federal Court has ordered a $500,000 penalty against South East Melbourne Cleaning Pty Ltd (in liquidation) (formerly Coverall Cleaning Concepts South East Melbourne Pty Ltd) (Coverall Melbourne) for contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Coverall Melbourne was the Victorian franchisor of a national professional cleaning franchise system.
Growing numbers of small businesses are looking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commissioner for advice and guidance, according to latest data from the national competition & franchising regulator.
Over 7, 000 people have contacted the ACCC in last six months with a small business or franchising related complaint or enquiry, and more than 8,000 people have completed the ACCC’s three free online education programs for small businesses, tertiary students and franchisees. There were also some 333 000 visits to the ACCC’s business webpages over the same time.
In his first speech of the year, Chairman Rod Sims launches the 2015 edition of the ACCC’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy at CEDA in Sydney. Mr Sims announces cartel conduct in government procurement, truth in advertising, competition and consumer issues in the health sector and industry codes as new priorities. He also outlines the ACCC’s role in ensuring privatisation delivers for consumers, improving the functioning of the financial system given the competition focus of the Murray report, ensuring a smooth transition for consumers to NBN services and reviewing water rules to improve outcomes in the Murray-Darling Basin.
Changes to the mandatory Franchising Code of Conduct came into effect on 1 January 2015. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has new powers to:
Small business helpline: 1300 302 021
Email updates: To receive updates from the ACCC’s Franchising Information Network, email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Publications: Visit www.accc.gov.au/publications to access more ACCC publications including a copy of the ACCC’s franchisee manual.
Associate (of a franchisor)—a person:
(i) is a partner, director or related body corporate of the franchisor, or a director of a related body corporate or
(ii) for a franchisor that is a proprietary company—directly or indirectly owns, controls, or holds with power to vote, at least 15 per cent of the issued voting shares in the franchisor and
|Failure to act in good faith||subclause 6(1)|
|Failure to create a Code compliant disclosure document||subclause 8(1)|
|Failure to update the disclosure document within 4 months after the end of each financial year||subclause 8(6)|
The ACCC’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy outlines the ACCC’s enforcement powers, functions, priorities and strategies and sets out the principles it adopts to achieve compliance with the law.
The ACCC determines the appropriate enforcement tools to address concerns on a case by case basis, taking into consideration the alleged contravention, the business involved and the impact of the conduct.
Who is liable for a breach of the Code?
While section 51AD of the Act prohibits businesses from contravening the Code, individuals can also be liable. Individuals’ liability can extend to the directors, the secretary, other officers or the board members of a company. Liability can also extend to employees of the company.
A person may be liable if they: