ACCC catches out yet another business for carbon tax exploit

The competition watchdog has struck down yet another attempt by a company to blame the carbon tax for its price increases.

This comes after the managing director at Brumby’s Bakery stood down following the chain’s instruction to its franchisees to start raising costs while blaming the increase on the carbon tax.

Refrigeration contractor Equipserve Solutions has given an enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after it made statements in an email to customers attributing the whole amount of a price increase to the new tax.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims says the company had “misled customers and caused them to believe that the entire price increase was due to the carbon price”.

Equipserve declined to comment when contacted by SmartCompany this morning.

The ACCC has previously said businesses are able to increase prices if they incur higher costs due to the carbon tax, but only if they can be proven and justified.

Equipserve has co-operated with the ACCC, Sims says, and offered a court enforceable undertaking to not engage in similar conduct and also implement a trade practices compliance program, which will include training for staff.

“Businesses must carefully consider the basis for any pricing claims to ensure such claims are truthful and have a reasonable basis,” Sims said in a statement.

“If a business’s suppliers have not attributed a price rise to the carbon price, then the business cannot assume that the carbon price is the cause of the price rise.”

Some businesses have been attempting to exploit the carbon tax for a considerable period of time. Incidents even started last year, when the ACCC exposed alcohol sellers and taxi drivers attempting to charge customers more for the tax before it had even passed parliament.

 

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