The ACCC announced that its priorities for 2018 (contained in its Compliance & Enforcement Policy) would focus on "franchising issues involving large or national franchisors" and in continuing to assist Australia's 2.2 million small businesses:
- "ensuring they continue to receive the protections of the unfair contract terms law and industry codes
- addressing consumer guarantee issues in new car retailing
- dealing with conduct that may contravene the misuse of market power provisions and concerted practice provisions."
On 27 March 2018, the ACCC released its "Small business 2017 snapshot" which includes key statistics highlighting its work in 2017. This work included:
- "receiving 8,721 contacts including nearly 5000 reports
- referring 2,627 reports and enquiries to state/territory Small Business Commissioners
- undertaking 7 enforcement actions and issuing $177,000 in penalties
- issuing 29 compliance checks for the franchising, horticulture, and food and grocery industry codes."
In the current climate, particularly given the increased scrutiny that franchisors face in the current inquiry and recent scandals and legislative changes, it is important that franchisors understand their legal obligations. K&L Gates can help by providing advice as to these legal obligations and introducing systems into your network that can assist with ensuring compliance with legal obligations (including the provision of training to relevant staff).