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Upholding consumer rights:
ACCC's vigilance in the
Australian market

Upholding Consumer Rights: ACCC's Vigilance in the Australian Market

With a focus on addressing cost of living concerns, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is cracking down on practices that may harm consumers and market competition.

We are very conscious that misleading sales representations in relation to the price, features or benefits of essential goods and services prevent consumers making informed purchasing decisions, and this is of even greater harm in times of reduced household disposable incomes,” ACCC chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb emphasised.

Misleading price advertising

One of the ACCC’s key focuses is the food and grocery sector. The ACCC is closely examining claims of false or misleading ‘was/now’ pricing by supermarkets, ensuring that consumers are not being misled and can make informed purchasing decisions. The ACCC highlighted its role to ensure that consumers receive honest and accurate advertising and are not being misled by claims of discounts.

In addition to supermarket pricing practices, the ACCC is also investigating the aviation sector for anticompetitive behaviour and unfair business practices. This includes monitoring cancellation rates, delays, and airfare pricing to ensure that consumers are not unfairly disadvantaged.

Deceptive digital marketing conduct

The ACCC has also committed to focussing on deceptive marketing practices online, including false reviews and misleading influencer marketing. This crackdown extends to price comparison websites and in-app purchases in the video gaming sector, where manipulative tactics can lead to significant financial harm for consumers.

Furthermore, the ACCC is prioritising the protection of consumer guarantees online, particularly in consumer electronics. By holding retailers and manufacturers accountable for their products, the ACCC aims to ensure that consumers receive the quality and functionality they are promised.

What else is being done?

To address the growing threat of scams, the ACCC is working to develop mandatory codes with various industries, including banks, telcos, and digital platforms, to swiftly take down scam ads and protect consumers from falling victim to fraudulent schemes.

In cases of systemic breaches, the ACCC is preparing to seek multimillion-dollar penalties as a deterrent to businesses engaging in anticompetitive or deceptive conduct. These penalties not only serve as a punishment but also as a reminder of the importance of compliance with consumer protection laws.

The ACCC’s vigilant enforcement actions and focus on key consumer protection priorities are crucial in ensuring a fair and competitive marketplace for all Australians.

What do consumer product companies need to do?

Companies should review their internal processes to ensure they are geared for compliance and ensure that their personnel are aware of their compliance requirements through training.

If you need assistance for your compliance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

This content is provided for reference only and may not be current on the date of access. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

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