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Carbon price claims – FAQs for business
1. What is the carbon price? 2. As a business, what do I need to know? 3. What steps can my business take to avoid making misleading claims? 4. What is the ACCC’s role? 5. What types of information should I have regard to before making a claim? 6. Where can I find more business guidance? 7. What about guidance for industry associations? 8. What are the ACCC’s enforcement powers? 9. Where can I find more information? 10. What if I have a complaint or enquiry?
The Australian Government has introduced a carbon price that will apply from 1 July 2012. Under the scheme, the carbon price will apply to certain greenhouse emissions, with some large businesses being required to purchase carbon credits against their emissions.
For more information about how the carbon price works and how it will affect your business visit the Clean Energy Future website.
Under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, you must not make false, misleading or deceptive claims about the price of goods and services. This includes false, misleading or deceptive claims linking price rises to the carbon price.
As a business, you are entitled to increase your prices as you see fit – it is business as usual. Leading up to and following the start of the carbon price, the same legal obligations not to mislead or deceive apply.
Like any other claim, if you choose to make a claim about the impact of the carbon price or why the price has increased, this claim should be truthful and have a reasonable basis.
Be aware if you make a claim, the ACCC may ask you to provide information in support of your claims.
As a business, you may consider information from a range of sources when determining the impact of the carbon price on your costs, and ultimately your prices.
If you intend to rely on information from third party sources when making claims about the carbon price to your customers, you need to assess whether you have a reasonable basis for relying on the information.
When relying on third party information to make a claim, you should consider:
- any explanation the third party has provided about the price impact of the carbon price.
- whether the third party’s calculations reflect the cost of inputs into their own business - if they are being used to calculate a carbon price.
- whether any price increases are consistent with the carbon price impact as predicted by other sources such as government, their industry association or other professional advisers.
- if there are other factors (unrelated to the impacts of the carbon price) that have contributed to the price increase.
The ACCC’s role is to:
- inform and educate businesses about their responsibilities under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act) when making carbon price claims, including by providing guidance.
- raise awareness amongst consumers about their rights under the Act.
- investigate and, where appropriate, take action against businesses who engage in practices that contravene the Act.
The ACCC does not have a role in formally monitoring, setting or restricting prices related to the carbon price and cannot stop a business from putting up its prices as a result of the carbon price.
However, the ACCC can act against misleading claims if a business falsely links a price rise with the carbon price.
The information you should have regard to before making a claim about the impact of the carbon price will depend on the type of claim made. Before making a claim, you need to be confident that any price increase linked with the carbon price applies to your own business. This includes claims about percentage price increases, and increases within a price range.
It may not be practical or possible in all cases to separate out a precise increase in cost due to a particular factor, such as the carbon price. In these circumstances, you will need to carefully consider whether to make a carbon price claim.
For more information see Business Snapshot – Carbon price claims: Information to support your claims.
An important part of the ACCC’s role is to inform and educate business about their obligations and responsibilities when deciding whether to make a claim about the impact of the carbon price.
Industry associations have an important role to play in providing information to their members about the impact of the carbon price. More information is available in the Business Snapshot - Carbon price claims: Guidance for industry associations.
The ACCC may investigate and take action against businesses that make false or misleading claims.
Some of the ACCC’s powers include:
- requiring a business to provide documents that respond to a substantiation notice.
- issuing infringement notices of $6600 for a corporation (or $66 000 for a listed corporation) where it considers a claim is false or misleading.
- taking legal action against a business for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
- seeking court-imposed penalties of up to $1.1 million for serious breaches of the ACL or injunctions to stop a business from making certain claims.
For more information about the ACCC’s enforcement powers see the ACCC Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
Contact the ACCC:
- Infocentre 1300 302 502
- Small Business Helpline 1300 302 021
- Indigenous Infoline 1300 303 143
- Information in languages other than English 13 1450
- TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 1300 302 502
- Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 and ask for 1300 302 502
- Internet relay users connect to the NRS (see www.relayservice.com.au) and ask for 1300 302 502
For more information about the carbon price, visit the Clean Energy Future website.
The ACCC may investigate and take action against false or misleading claims about the impact of the carbon price on the cost of goods or services. If you see a claim that does not seem right, contact the ACCC:
- by emailing a complaint through the ACCC website
- by phone: ACCC Infocentre: 1300 302 502
- by mail:
PO Box 3131
Canberra ACT 2601
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Sunday, April 8, 2012
#Carbonprice FAQs | #cp #carbontax facts