By James Atkinson
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned businesses against using the carbon tax to dupe consumers into accepting price hikes, after taking action against a liquor retailer over a 20 percent increase.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims this week said the unnamed store was given a written warning after it told a customer the tax was responsible for a $10 increase in the price of a carton of beer, according to media reports.
"It does take a little bit of electricity to make a beer, but not a lot," he said.
"And besides which, the carbon tax hasn't started yet. It's just way over the top."
In a speech to the Law Institute of Victoria on Tuesday, Sims said businesses using the carbon price to justify price increases ‘must ensure that the representation is true and accurate’.
"Of course, businesses are entitled to increase their prices as they see fit," he said.
"But claiming an increase is to one extent or another the result of carbon pricing, when it is not, is misleading."
"In particular, we do not want consumers being duped into accepting price increases they would normally question," Sims said.
To enforce complaints, Sims said the ACCC would use substantiation notices – a new power under Australian Consumer Law that require businesses to give information or evidence to substantiate a claim or representation.