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Small Businesses Hurt By Unfair Contracts, ACCC Report Finds

Australia’s small businesses are being hurt by unfair contracts terms, deceptive conduct and scams, the ACCC’s latest Small Business in Focus report has found.

Unfair contracts remain a major issue, especially those drawn up by larger wholesalers; in the past six months the ACCC has taken action against businesses including ATM provider Cardtronics and AWB Harvest Finance Pools over potentially unfair contract terms.

“At the beginning of the year, we named our priority focus areas to ensure small businesses have a level playing field to compete. We are honing in on unfair terms in business-to-business contracts and making sure industry codes are working in the way they are intended to offer small businesses protection where it is needed,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

“We have a range of regulatory powers available to us, and will continue to leverage these to get the best outcomes for small business. We have many more investigations under way and further actions on unfair business-to-business contracts will take place soon,”  Keogh said.

Scams are also having a negative impact on thousands of small businesses, who have reported losses of more than $2.3 million to the ACCC’s Scamwatch website in 2018 so far.

These scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, Mr Keogh said, and often involve someone impersonating a supplier of that business to intercept payments.


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