Business bullies beware warns ACCC

BIG businesses bullying small businesses are the targets of the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission guideline.

ACCC chairman Allan Fels said the guideline, Fair Game or Fair Go?, reflected real life issues that had arisen in the course of ‘settling in’ the new 51AC provision of the Trade Practices Act.

“The guideline will help small business gain a fuller understanding of whether or not they have been subjected to unconscionable conduct under the Act,” Professor Fels said.

It provides practical advice on avoiding problems in commercial relationships and resolving differences.

Professor Fels said the ACCC was “not applying any special attention to ‘create’ 51AC cases”.

“There has been some anxiety about a ministerial direction for cases relevant to Section 51AC and small business,” he said. “The ministerial direction does not force the commission to run a S.51AC case to conclusion even though it could be better settled administratively.

“We do wish to clarify the law and will do so where the facts have legal merit and a positive outcome may be achieved by litigation,” he said.

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