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On 23 February 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced its enforcement and compliance priorities for 2021. So, here is a snapshot of what they are.

2021 priorities

The following sectors will be monitored closely, in differing ways:

Aviation and Travel – given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the ACCC will unsurprisingly focus on misleading marketing within these sectors. The ACCC has highlighted it will be scrutinising behaviours which could further damage competition in the domestic air travel market, as well as the impacts of travel and event cancellations.

Funeral Services – this has been a sector of concern for a while. The ACCC will primarily focus on competition and consumer issues, due to:

    1. businesses which are bundling services and preventing new market entrants; and
    2. the vulnerable customer base which is being exposed to aggressive sales strategies and pricing.

Small businesses – ensuring small businesses receive the protections guaranteed by law will be a continued priority, particularly when it comes to unfair contract terms and the consumer guarantee regime. The ACCC has also clearly highlighted that the franchise sector will also be a focus throughout the next 12 months.

Financial Services – investigations into anti-competitive conduct allegations will commence, as the ACCC acts on recommendations from the ACCC’s Home Loan Price inquiry report, which was finalised in December 2020.

Commercial Construction – a focus on competitive issues in this sector will continue to be the ACCC’s focus.

Agriculture – monitoring supply chain relationships will continue, alongside ensuring compliance with mandatory industry codes of conduct, namely the:

    1. Dairy Code of Conduct; and
    2. Horticulture Code of Code

Automotive – in 2020, the ACCC received a high number of complaints regarding motor vehicles. This re-affirmed the need to focus on further improving compliance with consumer guarantee obligations; with car and caravan dealers likely to be in the spotlight in relation to warranty offerings and compliance with the statutory consumer guarantees.

continuing priorities

Naturally, some priorities will continue from one year to the next, due to their detrimental impact to consumer welfare and market competitivity in general. Prioritisation on the following will continue:

Cartel conduct

Anti-competitive conduct

Product safety

Consumer vulnerability or disadvantage

Conduct impacting Indigenous Australia

key takeaway

Whether or not your business is operating in one of the sectors of focus, ensuring your business is compliant with the Australian Consumer Laws is critical.

we are here to help

We regularly provide advice about obligations which stem from the Australian Consumer Laws and offer educational services to ensure businesses and their employees are well aware about how such laws apply to their business, as well as their industry, generally.

If you have any questions regarding the content above, please contact a member of Macpherson Kelley’s Trade Team.

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Overview of the ACCC’s priorities for 2021

05 March 2021
sara demetrios

On 23 February 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced its enforcement and compliance priorities for 2021. So, here is a snapshot of what they are.

2021 priorities

The following sectors will be monitored closely, in differing ways:

Aviation and Travel – given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the ACCC will unsurprisingly focus on misleading marketing within these sectors. The ACCC has highlighted it will be scrutinising behaviours which could further damage competition in the domestic air travel market, as well as the impacts of travel and event cancellations.

Funeral Services – this has been a sector of concern for a while. The ACCC will primarily focus on competition and consumer issues, due to:

    1. businesses which are bundling services and preventing new market entrants; and
    2. the vulnerable customer base which is being exposed to aggressive sales strategies and pricing.

Small businesses – ensuring small businesses receive the protections guaranteed by law will be a continued priority, particularly when it comes to unfair contract terms and the consumer guarantee regime. The ACCC has also clearly highlighted that the franchise sector will also be a focus throughout the next 12 months.

Financial Services – investigations into anti-competitive conduct allegations will commence, as the ACCC acts on recommendations from the ACCC’s Home Loan Price inquiry report, which was finalised in December 2020.

Commercial Construction – a focus on competitive issues in this sector will continue to be the ACCC’s focus.

Agriculture – monitoring supply chain relationships will continue, alongside ensuring compliance with mandatory industry codes of conduct, namely the:

    1. Dairy Code of Conduct; and
    2. Horticulture Code of Code

Automotive – in 2020, the ACCC received a high number of complaints regarding motor vehicles. This re-affirmed the need to focus on further improving compliance with consumer guarantee obligations; with car and caravan dealers likely to be in the spotlight in relation to warranty offerings and compliance with the statutory consumer guarantees.

continuing priorities

Naturally, some priorities will continue from one year to the next, due to their detrimental impact to consumer welfare and market competitivity in general. Prioritisation on the following will continue:

Cartel conduct

Anti-competitive conduct

Product safety

Consumer vulnerability or disadvantage

Conduct impacting Indigenous Australia

key takeaway

Whether or not your business is operating in one of the sectors of focus, ensuring your business is compliant with the Australian Consumer Laws is critical.

we are here to help

We regularly provide advice about obligations which stem from the Australian Consumer Laws and offer educational services to ensure businesses and their employees are well aware about how such laws apply to their business, as well as their industry, generally.

If you have any questions regarding the content above, please contact a member of Macpherson Kelley’s Trade Team.