Australian Competition and Consumer Commission working on regulatory challenges posed by disruptive technologies

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is looking into challenges posed by fast-moving disruptive technologies and anti-competitive responses to those technologies by incumbent businesses.

ACCC Chairman said that new technology has increased access to more products, services, and information for consumers but with it come new challenges for consumer advocates and regulators.

Some of the issues related to dealing with rogue online traders, sophisticated scam artists, and new retail practices like ‘subscription traps’ ( cases where when you sign up online or on the phone for free or low-cost trials of products, to find out later you have been locked into costly repeat payments) are not covered by the Australian Consumer Law. Moreover, many of these people or entities are based overseas in today’s global marketplace which adds to the complications.  

Mr. Sims also spoke about consumers being unable to access the huge amounts of data being shared by them every day and so. This situation is taken for granted by consumers but it should not be so. Advocacy can make a significant difference here.

Clarity around broadband speed advertising for consumers is among a range of priorities for the current year. Consumers are calling for standardised information to help them make informed comparisons between the different speeds available on the market. To address this, the ACC has published six principles to help ensure that internet service providers’ claims about broadband speeds aren’t misleading under the Australian Consumer Law. ACCC is planning to publish a best-practice broadband speeds advertising guide for providers in the coming months.

Another focus area is working with internet platform providers to prevent the supply of unsafe products into Australia.

Read the press release here.

Featured image: MVCOSHOP / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

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