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Encyclopedia > Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
The ACCC Logo
The ACCC Logo

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is an independent Australian commonwealth government authority established in 1995 from the amalgamation of the Australian Trade Practices Commission (TPC) and the Prices Surveillance Authority, to protect consumer rights, business rights and obligations, perform industry regulation and price monitoring and prevent unauthorised anti-competitive behaviour. The ACCC administers the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), more commonly known as the TPA. Image File history File links AustralianCompetitionandConsumerCommission. ... Image File history File links AustralianCompetitionandConsumerCommission. ... The English noun Commonwealth dates originally from the fifteenth century. ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Australian Trade Practices Commission was the agency responsible for monitoring and enforcement activities under the Trade Practices Act 1974. ... Consumer protection is government regulation to protect the interests of consumers, for example by requiring businesses to disclose detailed information about products, particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food. ... The Trade Practices Act 1974 is an act of the Parliament of Australia. ...

Contents

Roles

The ACCC wields a substantial amount of power in the Australian commercial realm. It has legislative and judicial power to enforce a broad range of anti-competitive commercial issues, including powers to counter price fixing cartels, misuse of market power and refusal to supply. On its consumer protection side, it has the power to investigate and litigate undue harassment in debt collection and misleading or deceptive claims in advertising. The examples and perspective in this article do not represent a worldwide view. ... Billboards and street advertising in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, (2005) Advertising is drawing public attention to goods and services by promois performed through a variety of media. ...


An adjunct to its enforcement role is its role in educating would-be franchisors and franchisees of their rights and responsibilities. This flows in some respects from the fact that franchising cases often come to the ACCC as a result of misleading or deceptive conduct by the franchisor in selling the franchise, in breach of the consumer protection provisions of the TPA. The ACCC is also able to bring actions for breaches of the mandatory franchising code of conduct.


The ACCC reviews mergers to ensure they do not substantially lessen competition, in the event that they do, the ACCC does not allow the merger to occur. In reality, this equates to a very small number of mergers which are disallowed each year (usually less than 5), although the ones that do get disallowed are high profile and generate a fair amount of publicity.


In 2005, the section of the ACCC responsible for economic energy regulation was hived off and formed into a separate legal entity called the Australian Energy Regulator (AER). The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) is responsible for economic regulation and rule enforcement in Australian energy markets. ...


Restrictive Trade Practices

In most cases the spirit of the act, and thus the actions of the ACCC, favours neither consumer nor supplier, but strives to achieve a competitive market without artificial restrictions. For example, refusal of supply, a producer refusing to supply a potential retailer or customer with a product is not itself illegal unless the action would have an anti-competitive effect on the market as a whole. Conversely, practices that are invariably anti-competitive are always illegal, such as price fixing.


Penalties

Penalties for non-compliance of the TPA can be quite severe, and the ACCC is vigorous in bringing court actions against companies that breach the TPA, that may result in these penalties being imposed. Companies that do not comply with the restrictive trade practices provisions of the TPA may be fined up to AU$10,000,000, and individuals may be fined up to AU$500,000. The ACCC also has powers to enforce restitutive actions on the affected parties. For example, companies are frequently forced to publish retractions of false advertising claims in national newspapers and at their places of business. Companies found in breach of the TPA are usually bound to implement a compliance program to ensure future compliance with the act.


Although the penalties permitted by the Trade Practices Act are quite severe, there has been a reluctance by the courts to impose the maximum penalty. There has been a move recently to make certain offences under competition law (such as price fixing or participation in a cartel) into criminal offences rather than purely civil breaches. It is generally thought that the possibility of being found guilty of a criminal offence -- and the possibility of a custodial sentence for executives involved -- will provide a much stronger deterrent to anti-competitive behaviour.


Consumer Confidence

The ACCC is regarded by some Australian business people as necessary but often ineffective, while Australian consumers generally hold the ACCC in high regard. Whilst it is acknowledged that the ACCC is required to help safeguard consumer rights, there has been occasional criticism of the organisation as being "all-talk-no-action". This criticism is most likely due to the inherent difficulty in obtaining sufficient evidence to prove breaches of the RTP provisions of the TPA.


Recently the ACCC has exercised its authority in a number of retail areas, including fining retailer Target for false advertising and Woolworths (known as Safeway in Victoria) for illegally fixing the price of bread. Target Australia Pty Ltd is an Australian company that operates the 250-store Target department store chain. ... Woolworths Limited, or Woolies (as it is colloquially known) is a large Australian retail corporation. ... Safeway Australia was a group of supermarkets purchased by Woolworths Limited (an Australian company) in 1985. ... Emblems: Pink heath (floral)Weedy Seadragon (Aquatic) helmeted honeyeater (bird) Leadbeaters possum (faunal) Motto: Peace and Prosperity Slogan or Nickname: Garden State, The Place To Be, On The Move Other Australian states and territories Capital Melbourne Government Const. ... Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. ...


Chairpersons

Professor Allan Fels was Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission from its inception in 1995 until 2003. ... 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Graeme Samuel commenced as head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in July 2003. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with antitrust. ... A competition regulator is a government agency, typically a statutory authority, which regulates competition laws, and may sometimes also regulate consumer protection laws. ... Consumer protection is government regulation to protect the interests of consumers, for example by requiring businesses to disclose detailed information about products, particularly in areas where safety or public health is an issue, such as food. ... Two-price advertising is the sales and marketing practice of showing customers two prices, a supposed normal price and a lower price which is claimed to be a special offer or discount; but where in fact the stated normal price is a fiction. ...

External links

  • Official ACCC website
  • Official AER website

  Results from FactBites:
 
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (741 words)
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is an independent Australian commonwealth government authority established in 1995 from the amalgamation of the Australian Trade Practices Commission (TPC) and the Prices Surveillance Authority, to protect consumer rights, business rights and obligations, perform industry regulation and price monitoring and prevent unauthorised anti-competitive behaviour.
On its consumer protection side, it has the power to investigate and litigate undue harassment in debt collection and misleading or deceptive claims in advertising.
In 2005, the section of the ACCC responsible for economic energy regulation was hived off and formed into a separate legal entity called the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (2124 words)
The Commission seeks to maintain and improve competition and efficiency in markets, foster adherence to fair trading practices in well informed markets, promote competitive pricing wherever possible and restrain price rises in markets where competition is less than effective.
In the 1999-2000 Budget the Government provided the ACCC with $28 million over three years to monitor retail prices and to report to the Treasurer on instances where consumers have not benefited from reductions in the tax rate, or have been exposed to greater than necessary price rises.
ACCC policy and positions formulated - discussion documents and guidelines on competition initiatives and regulatory mechanisms be prepared, disseminated and discussions take place with Government, industry and consumers.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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