The ACCC has published its Compliance and enforcement policy setting out the principles it follows to achieve compliance with the law and outlining the ACCC’s enforcement powers, functions, priorities, strategies and regime.
The ACCC has explained that it is unlikely to become involved in resolving individual disputes and that its role is to focus on widespread consumer detriment: it directs its resources to the investigation and resolution of matters that provide the greatest overall benefit for consumers.
“… the ACCC gives enforcement priority to matters that demonstrate one or more of the following factors:
• conduct of signifi cant public interest or concern
• conduct resulting in a substantial consumer (including small business) detriment
• anticompetitive conduct involving cartel behaviour or misuse of market power
• unconscionable conduct, particularly involving large national companies or traders
• conduct demonstrating a blatant disregard for the law
• conduct involving issues of national or international significance
• conduct detrimentally affecting disadvantaged or vulnerable consumer groups
• conduct in concentrated markets which impacts on small business consumers or suppliers
• conduct involving a significant new or emerging market issue
• conduct that is industry-wide or is likely to become widespread if the ACCC does not intervene
• where ACCC action is likely to have a worthwhile educative or deterrent effect, and/or
• where the person, business or industry has a history of previous contraventions of competition, consumer protection or fair trading laws….
In addition to those matters that demonstrate the factors above, the ACCC is currently prioritising its work in the following areas:
• consumer protection in the telecommunications and energy sectors
• conduct that may impede emerging competition involving online traders
• competition and consumer issues in highly concentrated sectors, in particular in the supermarket and fuel sectors
• carbon pricing representations
• the ACL consumer guarantees regime
• consumer protection issues impacting on Indigenous consumers.”