ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper has launched the 10th issue of ‘Small Business in Focus’ at the Council of Small Business Australia national summit in Sydney.
The ‘Small Business in Focus’ report contains the latest small business and franchising complaints data and highlights the ACCC’s activities in the small-business sector.
“Misleading conduct and false representations remain the most frequently complained about area for small businesses, with over 1,300 complaints received in the January to June 2015 period,” Dr Schaper said. “Product safety issues also concerned small businesses with over 900 complaints in the same period.”
From January to June 2015, 5,020 small-business complaints were received, and 2,366 small-business inquiries put forward.
The introduction of the new Franchising Code on January 1 was reflected in a significant growth in franchising-related inquiries, with the six months from January 1 seeing a 63 per cent increase in inquiries compared with the previous six months.
“Franchisors, franchisees and would-be franchisees are recognising the need to educate themselves about the new code to ensure they understand their rights and obligations under the law,” Dr Schaper said.
In line with its enforcement priorities for 2015, the ACCC served audit notices on 12 franchisors to check their compliance with the new code, with the responses now being assessed.
The Food and Grocery Code was introduced into law in June, and ALDI, Woolworths, Coles and About Life have each signed up. The ACCC has developed guidance on the code, which is available on its website.
“Businesses that supply to the major retailers have significant new protections available to them under the code,” Dr Schaper said. “The ACCC has the power to investigate alleged breaches of the code and can take enforcement action if necessary.”