ACCC small business report slams credence claims

Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced it received almost 3,000 complaints and enquiries about small business or franchising in the first half of 2013.

Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced it received almost 3,000 complaints and enquiries about small business or franchising in the first half of 2013.

The ACCC’s newly released half yearly report, Small Business In Focus, on the sector has earmarked the single biggest issue that continues to get raised with the ACCC regarding small businesses and franchises is misleading advertising and false representations. Over 1,000 complaints and enquiries have been raised with the ACCC on these issues in the past year alone, including credence claims that have become an area of priority for the ACCC. Credence claims, such as country of origin or claims of product quality are designed to improve the appeal of a product when compared to similar products.

“Credence claims are important, and we need to protect honest small businesses who are selling premium products from unscrupulous competitors making false representations,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said. “The ACCC has been very active in policing credence claims in a wide variety of different markets – from meat claiming to be sourced from King Island to Australian made tags on Ugg boots that are actually made in China.” 

The Small Business In Focus report also lists the sectors that are generating the most complaints and enquiries within the small business and franchising communities. These include:

1. Advertising services.
2. ‘Non-store’ retailing (such as online retailers, milk vendors).
3. ‘Other’ store-based retailing (e.g. art galleries, musical instrument stores, pet shops).
4. Travel agency and tour arrangement services.
5. Wired telecommunication network operation.

Small businesses and franchisees can make a complaint or an enquiry to the ACCC on the Small Business helpline by phoning 1300 302 021. Read the Small Business In Focus report now.

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