The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has
compliance and enforcement policy for 2017, which identifies a
number of new priorities. Under the policy, the Commission will
take a hard line approach against larger companies and individuals
that have contravened the competition and consumer law. It will
seek higher penalties from those that have breached the law, likely
leading to fewer agreed settlements in the future.
The Commission has an active agenda on the competition front
this year. It will be dedicating additional resources to
investigating cases of substantial lessening of competition. The
Commission will also focus on price parity obligations that lead to
reduced price competition and has reaffirmed its commitment to
prosecuting and harshly penalising criminal cartel conduct.
The energy, health, commercial construction and agriculture
sectors will be under the most scrutiny this year. In particular,
the Commission is establishing a new team to investigate
anti-competitive conduct in the construction industry.
Unfair contract terms
The ACCC will aim to ensure small businesses receive the
protections of industry codes of conduct (including the Franchising Code of Conduct 2015) and the new unfair
contract terms laws. To find out more about the unfair contract
terms legislation, read the
The Commission has expressed a willingness to "take
on" large companies in 2017. It will look to make companies
accountable for misleading representations to consumers, with the
Commission putting the spotlight on new car retailers,
manufacturers, airlines and the telecommunications sector, just to
name a few.
The Commission will intensify its efforts on:
developing its guidance to the telecommunications sector on
broadband performance and speed claims
improving compliance in the private health insurance
industry用articularly concerning the adequacy of notice to
customers about cuts to insurance coverage and benefits, and
continuing its investigation into commission-based sales
(driving misleading behaviour), especially by third-party marketing
The compliance and enforcement policy will affect most
Australian companies, particularly those in the sectors that the
Commission plans to target in 2017. Businesses should use the
announcement of the new policy as an opportunity to review their
current practices, ensure compliance with the competition and
consumer law, and avoid enforcement action.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Australian Competition and Securities Commission has proven
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