ACCC releases its compliance and enforcement priorities for 2020

ACCC Chair Rod Sims announced the ACCC’s compliance and enforcement priorities for 2020 in a speech to the annual Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA). These priorities provide focus to the ACCC’s enforcement and advocacy work, as well as develop solutions to deliver benefits for all consumers.

The 2020 priorities include:

Competition and consumer issues in the funeral services sector

The ACCC is concerned with the lack of competition in the funeral services sector which gives some players significant market power. It will focus on businesses using misleading and deceptive or unconscionable conduct to inflate the price of services and take advantage of consumers at a vulnerable time.

Competition and consumer issues relating to digital platforms

The ACCC will respond to concerns about consumers being misled over the collection and the use of their personal data, as well as a range of important competition issues, some also linked to data.

Pricing and selling practices of essential services

The misleading and deceptive selling practices of essential services, anti-competitive conduct and failures to pass through cost reductions will be targeted by ACCC in 2020, particularly in the energy and telecommunications industries.

Misleading claims in food marketing

Misleading conduct in relation to the sale and promotion of food products, including health and nutritional claims, credence claims and country of origin, causes consumers detriment and will be a priority for ACCC in 2020.

Consumer guarantees

The ACCC will pursue enforcement and compliance initiatives to bring about change in industry behaviour and drive increased compliance with consumer guarantee obligations. Over the last year, the ACCC received 25,000 reports from consumers who want help trying to resolve a dispute involving a motor vehicle or white goods; these two are the most complained about sectors to the ACCC.

Button batteries

Last year the ACCC established the Button Batteries Taskforce to review whether industry actions to mitigate risks of button batteries to children were sufficient and to consider what regulatory options might be available. Options being considered include requirements for secure battery compartments on products containing button batteries, child resistant packaging and warnings.

The work of that Taskforce is being prioritised in the first half of this year and the ACCC will soon release a Draft Recommendation outlining proposed regulatory options available under the ACL to address the hazard of these batteries for public comment.

Finalising the Takata airbags recall

The ACCC continues to pursue the owners of vehicles affected by the Takata airbag recall under its compulsory recall notice.

It has also been working with the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications to assist the transitioning of full responsibility for motor vehicle safety from 1 July 2021, when the Department gains compulsory recall powers for motor vehicles.

View Rod Sims’ speech here.