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Watchdog warns SMEs over misleading ads

Misleading claims and unreliable product guarantees are the biggest gripes Australians have with small businesses. Resource-10

Online retailers, specialty stores, and travel agencies are also the most likely to be the subject of complaints from consumers and other businesses, the consumer watchdog says.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) received more than 2900 complaints about to small businesses and franchises during the first six months of 2013, it said on Tuesday.

Of those, 1107 related to misleading conduct or false representations, and 374 complaints related to consumer guarantees.

The ACCC has taken a particular focus on addressing misleading credence claims, such as statements about the product’s country of origin, deputy chairman Michael Schaper.

“Credence claims are important and we need to protect honest small businesses, who are selling premium products, from unscrupulous competitors making false representations,” he said in a statement.

“The ACCC has been very active in policing credence claims in a wide variety of different markets – from meat claiming to be sourced from King Island to Australian made tags on Ugg boots that are actually made in China.”


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