The ACCC announced its compliance and enforcement priorities for the new year. So what types of enforcement activities can we expect to see in 2020?
Consumer Guarantees, Small Business and Franchising
As expected, the ACCC has again put businesses on notice that they will be focusing on compliance with the mandatory consumer guarantees, including guarantees that products must be safe, free from defects and of acceptable quality.
In addition, the ACCC will continue to devote substantial resources to enforcement activities in the Small Business sector, particularly on ensuring that franchisors are complying with their obligations under the Franchising Code of Conduct.
A (somewhat) new addition to the enforcement agenda for 2020 is the ACCC’s plan to focus on digital issues. In particular, there will be a focus on businesses that are misleading customers about the collection and use of their personal data via digital platforms.
The federal government has funded the development of a new specialised Digital Platforms Branch at the ACCC, which illustrates the considerable resources that will be available for enforcement action in this space.
Misleading Claims in Food Marketing
We can also expect the ACCC to take a more active role this year in preventing businesses from making misleading representations in the marketing of food products.
There ACCC will increase its scrutiny of the accuracy of information on food packaging and marketing materials, particularly with respect to the health benefits of food and beverage products, their manufacturing processes and origins.
This priority comes off the back a 2018 Federal Court judgement, ordering Food giant Heinz to pay $2.25 million in penalties for making misleading health claims in relation to snack foods containing more than 60% sugar.
What does this mean for my business?
If you have questions about the ACCC’s enforcement priorities for 2020, of about your business’ compliance with the Australian Consumer Law more generally, please reach out to KKI’s commercial team. We’re here to help.