The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today launched its latest Small Business In Focus report, which is part of a campaign to give small businesses practical information on their rights and obligations under competition and consumer laws.
The half-yearly report provides a summary of the ACCC’s work and activities amongst the small business sector, which includes distributing over 20,000 hard copy publications to small business and associations and attending over 100 presentations, expos and field days. Between July 1 2012 and December 31 2012, the ACCC received over 2,300 contacts from small businesses, franchisees and franchisors, which have informed this latest ACCC report.
The report includes the latest complaints data from small business, franchisees and franchisors and contains guidance on ACCC priority issues, including unconscionable conduct and cartels. It also highlights action the ACCC has taken against those who seek to inappropriately profit from small businesses by limiting competition or engaging in misleading and deceptive behaviour.
“The ACCC recognises that small businesses have specific challenges and needs and we want to continue to educate and empower the sector with useful tips and resources,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper explains.
“Small business complaints mostly relate to misleading conduct, false representations and consumer guarantees. Franchising-related complaints increased in the period and were primarily focused on unconscionable conduct and misleading or false conduct.”
The ACCC has funded a free online education program, run by Griffith University, to help prospective franchisees make more informed decisions. Since it began in 2010, over 3,500 would-be franchisees have signed up to the course. Dr Schaper says the ACCC is keen to ensure more franchisees understand their rights under the Franchising Code of Conduct, and to know that they can contact the ACCC to lodge a complaint or seek further information.
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