Australia’s competition watchdog has again taken aim at unfair contract terms in its latest Small Business in Focus report. 

The ACCC used the half-yearly report to highlight its effort to protect small businesses against unfair terms in standard form contracts.

“Unfair contract terms are a big focus for the ACCC, and we want to make sure small businesses are not at a disadvantage because of one-sided ‘take-it-or-leave it’ contracts,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.

“Already this year, the ACCC has undertaken a number of in-depth investigations and taken action to ensure that small businesses receive the protection of the business-to-business unfair contract terms law, which the Australian government introduced in 2016.”

The ACCC is particularly concerned by unfair contract terms in the stevedoring and agriculture sectors.

Mr Keogh encouraged small businesses to review their standard form contracts and request changes to any terms they deem unfair.

“This year we have also obtained two court outcomes against franchisors for breaches of the Franchising Code and Australian Consumer Law, and will continue to focus on ensuring small businesses have the protection of the law, and by ensuring compliance with industry codes in accordance with our compliance and enforcement policy and priorities,” he said.