INSIGHTS: ACCC targeting businesses with an online presence

March 30, 2016

In late February 2016, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) released its annual Compliance and Enforcement Policy and announced its enforcement priorities for 2016.

Health and medical sectors remain a continuing priority this year. The ACCC has indicated that it will continue with investigations to ensure health service providers comply with their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law and it is likely to take some action in this area in the near future.

The director of Homeopathy Plus can attest to the ACCC’s preparedness to commence proceedings in relation to what it considers to be online false and misleading and deceptive statements. Watch Part 1 of Principal Julie Somerville’s video blog, Internet of things and social media, in relation to that case: Watch the video.

In December 2015, the Federal Court of Australia ordered Homeopathy Plus’s director, and Homeopathy Plus, to pay $115,000 and $23,000 respectively in penalties arising out of breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.

Given the renewed focus by statutory bodies like the ACCC and the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) into breaches of consumer protection laws it is important that health practitioners review their websites and use of social media.

This, however, doesn’t mean that a business should shy away from having an online presence, the risks can be minimised. In Part 2 of our video series (click here to watch video), Julie Somerville outlines some of the steps that can be taken to minimise the risks associated with a business’s online presence.