Federal law prevents companies entering into arrangements or understandings that are designed to keep out competitors or have any other anti-competitive purpose or effect.
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 2016 small business was expected to have 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. The change was deferred due to the pending election.
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.
MISLEADING AND DECEPTIVE CONDUCT
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) offers robust protection against corporate misconduct especially in relation to the supply of services and sale of goods. A wide range of relief is available including compensation and injunctions. In many cases the statutory prohibition against misleading/deceptive conduct; unfair terms and unconscionable conduct cannot be contracted out of or varied.
This means that regardless of the contractual position, a party may still be able to obtain relief against an offending corporation or supplier.
The ACL also contains statutory “guarantees” in relation to the supply of services and sale of goods. Services must be supplied “with due care and skill”.
The misleading/deceptive and unconscionable conduct provisions apply to all corporate conduct, not just in the supply of goods and services.
Consumers and small business (less than 20 employees) are also protected against unfair terms in “standard form” contracts for the supply of goods or services. A term may be “unfair” for many reasons including, if:
- it would cause a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract; and
- it is not reasonably necessary in order to protect the legitimate interests of the party who would be advantaged by the term; and
- it would cause detriment (whether financial or otherwise) to a party if it were to be applied or relied on.
Contact us for a review of your contract terms if your are a supplier or – if you are a buyer of goods or services – for advice about whether you can challenge your supply terms.
OFFICE & BUSINESS SUPPLY CONTRACTS
If you are a business with any concerns regarding any of the following in the last 5 years:
- office & business equipment supply/rental contracts
- installment sales of real property
- “cost plus” purchase of trading stock
- rebates in contracts for supply of goods
- “hire purchase” agreements
- “print plan” contracts for office copiers/printers
- exit obstacles & excessive terms (or termination notice periods) in service contracts; waste collection; security monitoring.