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Published 12 July 2012 10:44, Updated 19 July 2012 05:00
The competition regulator received just over 630 complaints and inquiries in the first 10 days of the federal government’s carbon pricing scheme coming into effect on July 1, 2012.
More than one-third of all inquiries to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission were in regard to increases in electricity bills, with consumers challenging whether the price increases flagged by energy retailers are appropriate. The ACCC says it wants to stamp out misleading and deceptive claims but deputy chairman Michael Schaper says there has not been “a particularly large amount” of complaints about small businesses.
He says the ACCC is investigating in detail about 20 cases of misleading activity.
Where small businesses have been caught up in customer complaints and inquiries, Schaper says that often the issue has been “conflated”.
Legally a business is allowed to raise prices as it sees fit but if it makes representations that the rise is due wholly to the carbon tax, the business owner must show evidence for making that claim.
The ACCC has set up a hotline for all carbon price complaints and inquiries (Freecall 1300 303 609).
Schaper will host a webinar on August 16 for businesses to ask him questions directly.