ACCC – Compliance & Enforcement Priorities for 2024/25

ACCC fights back

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australia’s watchdog for upholding competition, consumer rights, and product safety standards, has outlined its enforcement priorities for the upcoming period.

Expanding upon the groundwork laid in previous years and acknowledging the challenges posed by the cost of living and the digital economy, the ACCC’s focus for 2024-25 will extend beyond its established priorities to include:

  1. Competition and anti-competitive practices: Ensuring a level playing field in markets.
  2. Fair trading and consumer protection in the digital realm: Especially targeting digital platforms and online marketplaces, particularly within the video gaming and home electronics sectors.
  3. Consumer and competition concerns in supermarkets and aviation sectors: Addressing issues of pricing and competition.
  4. Misleading pricing and claims in essential services: Particularly in energy, telecommunications, and gas markets.
  5. Environmental and sustainability claims: Ensuring accuracy and transparency in claims related to sustainability.
  6. Unfair contract terms: Focusing on compliance with laws prohibiting unfair contract terms.
  7. National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) compliance: Ensuring compliance with consumer laws by NDIS providers.

Furthermore, the ACCC’s specific areas of scrutiny for 2024-25 include:

  1. Digital marketing practices: Targeting deceptive advertising practices, especially prevalent in digital marketplaces and social media.
  2. Supermarket pricing: Addressing concerns raised by consumers and farmers regarding pricing practices in supermarkets.
  3. Essential services pricing: Monitoring anti-competitive behavior in essential service sectors like telecommunications and energy.
  4. Sustainability claims: Ensuring accuracy in environmental claims made by businesses.
  5. Unfair contract terms: Focusing on eliminating unfair terms in consumer and business contracts.
  6. Consumer guarantees: Improving compliance in various sectors, including home electronics and online purchases.
  7. Aviation sector concerns: Investigating allegations of anti-competitive behavior and unfair practices.
  8. NDIS compliance: Ensuring NDIS providers meet their obligations under consumer law.

It is likely that those who who charge a fee for Debt Management Services, negotiations and/or credit repair services to consumers will be included following the 2021 requirement to hold an Australian Credit Licence: Debt Management Services (or be an authorised credit representate under a licence holder).

In addition to these priorities, the ACCC maintains a focus on enduring priorities, including protecting small businesses, combating scams, addressing cartel conduct, and ensuring product safety. The ACCC employs a range of strategies to achieve its objectives, including education campaigns, enforcement actions, market studies, and collaboration with other agencies.

Through these efforts, the ACCC aims to safeguard consumer rights, foster fair competition, and promote a transparent and accountable marketplace in Australia.

Eddie Griffith MBA, CMgr, FIML, GAICD, MIPA AFA, CTP, RTP®

ABRT Chair | Restructuring and Turnaround Practitioner | ASIC licenced ‘Debt Management Services’ Practitioner (ACL 533933).

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