Deceptive conduct costing SMEs billions

The ACCC has today released its latest Small business in Focus report, detailing the $2.2 billion worth of losses resulting from complaints of misleading and deceptive conduct by small businesses.

The ACCC has today released its latest Small business in Focus report, detailing the $2.2 billion worth of losses resulting from complaints of misleading and deceptive conduct by small businesses.

Focusing on the period from 1 July to 31 December 2015, the report provides a snapshot of the problems SMEs are most commonly facing in regards to illegal conduct, and details actions the ACCC has taken in a bid to resolve these issues.

“Over the last six months, the ACCC received almost 5,000 complaints from small businesses. Concerns about misleading conduct remain the biggest issue for small businesses,” ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said in a statement announcing the report’s release.

“Conduct resulting in substantial small business detriment has been a priority for the ACCC and we want to make it clear that this type of conduct is unacceptable.”

According to the report, the ACCC received complaints of losses from small businesses as a result of scam activities totalling $2,284,798.

Misleading conduct or false representations again were the most commonly complained about issue, with 1,495 complaints made to the ACCC. However this was down on 2014’s figure of 1,708 complaints.

The fall was not universal though, with consumer guarantees, product safety, unsolicited goods and services, misuse of market power, exclusive dealings and other issues all attracting more complaints over the period than the same time a year earlier.

The report comes after ASIC announced the expansion of unfair contract protections to cover small firms with fewer than 20 employees.

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