Anti-competitive practices – including arrangements or understandings that keep out competitors or have any other anti-competitive purpose or effect – are prohibited by federal law.

Anti-Competitive Conduct Law

Exclusive dealing, market sharing, price-fixing, third line forcing, predatory pricing and “misuse of market power” are all examples of proscribed conduct for which legal remedies are available.

From November 2017 small business scored a major gain from playing field levelling brought about by the long-overdue implementation of an “effects test” to decide if a market major misuses its commercial power to stifle competition.

If you believe a major competitor is engaged in anti-competitive conduct to your detriment, call us for advice about what options are open to you.

Certain business practices that limit or prevent competition are against the law. It is important that businesses understand their rights and obligations at all times and, in particular, when dealing with wholesalers, suppliers and other businesses. ACCC 

It is not unlawful for a business to have market power or to exploit its market power. However, a business with a ‘substantial degree of power’ in a ‘market’ unlawfully misuses its power if it engages in conduct that has the purpose, effect or likely effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.

Put another way, it is not unlawful for a business to have market power or to exploit its market power unless a substantial lessening of competition in a (any) market occurs (or was likely to have occurred) as a result or was the purpose of the business’s conduct.

For a good example of how a Queensland small business took action to prevent a competitor from misusing its market power to stifle competition, look at this 2015 case relating to the Hamilton Island & Whitsunday boat charter industry.

Our business lawyers can you provide you prompt, effective and practical advice if you have concerns about the potential effect of your competitive behaviour or if you face a market power situation which is hindering your efforts to fairly compete in your industry. Call or email our business lawyers today for advice on anti-competitive conduct law.

What is the ‘market’?

The determination of the relevant “market” in which a supplier provides its services is fundamental to all competition law questions. Should the market be defined narrowly or broadly? The question can only be answered by close consideration of the product or service, competitor activity, buyer substitution opportunity and geo-location issues.

What is “substantial” degree of market power?

This too is a question of degree, ie market share. Whether it is substantial also depends on the size of the relevant market. Note though, relief is available if there is an adverse competition effect in any market if the misuse protagonist has a substantial degree of market power in any market.

How can our QLD Business + Property Lawyers help you?

The QBPL can provide businesses and individuals with personalized, fixed-fee, online legal advice, including business and consumer law advice and assistance. Call us at 1300 590 613 today.

Want an assessment on whether a supply contracts terms are potentially “unfair” or whether a breach of a statutory guarantee may apply? Try our interactive assessment tool to measure what risks or opportunities apply.

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