Australia's 3rd Largest Economy

The ACCC Radar

20-Apr-2021 16:32 | Tracy Dawson (Administrator)

By Matthews Folbigg Lawyers

We are all aware of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commissioner (ACCC) but it is always interesting and informative when ACCC publishes its industry-specific enforcement goals.

Background

ACCC reviews and updates its Compliance and Enforcement Priorities each year in respect of its initiatives and strategies to implement its statutory role to enforce the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Act).

The recently announced ACCC Compliance and Enforcement Priorities 2021 (Priorities) should be noted by Australian businesses especially when we are currently recovering from the pandemic.

The Priorities indicate that ACCC will be focused on the following industries/business sectors and it will scrutinise various business practices and implement enforcement actions as required.

Essential Services

The pricing and selling practices of essential services such as electricity and telecommunications sector will continue to be a key area for ACCC’s investigation this year.

Funerals

The long-standing imbalance in market power in favour of existing suppliers (ie. funeral directors) at the expense of consumers and new entrants will be carefully watched.

Finance

In light of ACCC’s 2020 Home Loan Price Enquiry, it is proposed that lenders will be required to (i) provide a prompt to alert borrowers to available prevailing rates; and (ii) lower administrative fees imposed on borrowers who wish to switch their lenders.

Travel & Aviation

Sales practices by travel and aviation businesses as well as their marketing materials and advertisements will be closely monitored by ACCC due to the high level of uncertainty associated with the current travel restrictions.

Franchising

Various business practices adopted by franchisors affecting franchisees such as representations in respect of likely earnings and the use of marketing funds will also be scrutinised.

Motor Vehicles

There has been a high volume of consumer complaints in respect of failure by motor vehicle dealers to comply with consumer guarantees offered under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). ACCC plans to take enforcement actions against various dealers.

Key Takeaways

  • 2021 will be a critical year for all Australian businesses to review their practices to ensure compliance with the Act.
  • Failure to comply with the Act may result in hefty penalties and/or compliance orders.
  • Businesses should check their terms of trade, supply contracts and business practices generally and make any necessary updates to ensure compliance with the Act.

More Information

Please contact our commercial law team at Matthews Folbigg Lawyers on 9635 7966 if you would like us to review your current terms of trade, supply contracts or other dealings or if you would like advice or assistance in respect of ACCC compliance and enforcement action.

DISCLAIMER: This article is provided to readers for their general information and on a complimentary basis. It contains a brief summary only and should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.


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