ACCC cracks down on dodgy retail practices

The competition regulator has announced a crackdown on businesses making dodgy claims about products or services and exploiting customers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is targeting misleading claims including those about free-range eggs and the origin of meat.

Last week, the ACCC revealed that Coles and Woolworths are the subject of a probe into claims they are putting unlawful pressure on their suppliers.

The commission's chairman Rod Sims has told the AM Program his organisation is also looking into several other cases of anti-competitive behaviour.

"We've got about 30 investigations underway which is, by our standards over the long haul, quite a lot," he said.

"We're looking at cartel conduct, misuse of market power, we're looking at anti-competitive agreements.

It's quite broad, it's in many areas of the economy." The latest crackdown by the competition watchdog will specifically target businesses making misleading claims about the origin and nature of products, including free-range eggs, meat and organic foods.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it has evidence of companies taking shortcuts or outright lying about certain products.

Mr Sims says consumers need to be able to trust the validity of claims about everyday goods.

"Country of origin claims, region of origin, like does meat come from King Island? We'll be focusing on whether things are organic or free-range when they claim to be," he explained.

"We've taken cases, and we'll take more, on things like is the product what you're getting - you think you're getting extra virgin olive oil - are you? You think you're buying wool - are you?" Mr Sims says a recent case found a business misled consumers about its meat coming from King Island.

"When areas or goods have built up a particular reputation it's just not right that others seek to take advantage of that reputation," he added.

"People build up faith in their region, for example if you buy wine from the Margaret River, that means something to you.

It's important, therefore, that it does come from the Margaret River." You can follow Peter Ryan on Twitter or on his .

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