Being truthful is one of the concepts required by retailers and other organisations who have obligations under Australian Consumer Law.  Being truthful goes alongside ‘a fair go’ for customers as well as honesty and integrity.

Australian Consumer Law prohibits the use of false and misleading statements.  There have been recent reports on a Federal Court hearing involving one of the leading retailers in Australia accused of misleading consumers in relation to the ‘freshness’ of some of their bread products with an indication that a large financial penalty is in the offing; more information (follow the link) is available on the media release on the ACCC website and also the perceived impact of the breach in terms of competitive disadvantage.

Does your organisation implement checks and balances to protect itself from compliance breaches?  Contact us for an initial chat to find out how our health check can assist your business – telephone 1300 602 880 or via our website at

Where goods are imported into Australia and the overseas manufacturer has no representation in Australia Australian Consumer Law places the responsibilities of a manufacturer on the importer:

Section 7(1)(e) of the legislation states

a person who imports goods into Australia if:

   (i) the person is not the manufacturer of the goods; and

  (ii) at the time of the importation, the manufacturer of the goods does not have a
       place of business in Australia.”

In simple terms this means that an importer in such circumstances takes on the responsibilities of a manufacturer in relation to the provision of  legally compliant products, supply of spare parts (where applicable) and accountability to consumers for product quality and product safety.  Where products and product safety are non compliant regulatory penalties can be applicable.

Compliance Essentials can work with your organisation to manage and monitor compliance – don’t run the risk, contact us for an initial discussion on 1300 602 880 or via our website at

The questions of ‘Wrap Rage’?

I certainly suffer from it, how do you fare trying to open some of the more difficult packaging items that we acquire in daily shopping?  Have a look at the following You Tube video clip ‘Larry David vs Bad Packaging’

That snippet made me laugh but unhappily the underlying sentiment is certainly familiar, that intense frustration at not only being unable to open a pack with your fingers but failing continually with various sharp instruments. Until recently I thought I was unusual in being more than inadequate in a losing battle with clamshell packaging and blister packs, now I realise that an uncountable number of the world’s population suffer from the same problem and the attendant frustration, and sometime personal injury!

Readers Digest  have conducted a survey amongst consumers, not only in relation to clamshells and blister packs but also other forms of ‘un-openable’ items; the types of consequential injury that the survey reports are not surprising but nonetheless should never happen.

Time was when someone occasionally stabbed themselves in the hand with an old-fashioned tin opener, it could happen.  Perhaps someone can explain then why now, in the 21st century, in this age of high technology, instant communication and whiz-bang gizmos, we not only have to pay for unmanageable packaging as part of product costs but at the same time risk injury to our hands, teeth and general wellbeing to access the purchased product.

The packaging issue is a serious enough matter for able-bodied people, but what consideration are the packaging moguls giving to those less able.  Spend a moment to consider those amongst the general population who maintain their pride by looking after themselves and who would experience a range of difficulties – from ‘hard’ to ‘impossible’ – in forcing an entry into clamshell packaging, blister packs or sometimes even a ‘child proof’ jar or container.  A disability that weakens strength, dexterity, coordination; vision impairment; a debilitating illness such as arthritis; mental disability, the list can go on, sections of the community that have to ask for help to do something as simple as opening a consumer pack.

A product offered for sale is, by law, required to be ‘fit for purpose’.  Some of the purposes of these impossible packaging items may be to render an item ‘tamper proof’ or to pose a deterrent to in-store pilfering, however having paid good money for any item, big or small, I would expect to be able to remove the packaging (easily and without risk of personal injury) and when I can’t no tick for ‘fit for purpose’ from me!
Please share your bad packaging experiences


Some of the mistakes that businesses make when it comes to compliance are very simple, and because of that we are launching a series of posts looking at some of the matters which can be very easily rectified.

Follow our blog to receive our posts hot off the press.

Need to look at the bigger picture?  Contact us on 1300 602 880 or via the website for an initial discussion as to how Compliance Essentials can help your business.


Australian retailers are putting a lot of temptation in the way of consumers at present with some allegedly great bargains on offer at fantastic prices.  Unfortunately some offers may not be as great as they appear to be.  In order to be legitimately offered as a ‘sale reduction’ an item must have been on sale at full price for ‘a reasonable period of time’ otherwise the advertising may be construed as misleading to the customer.  Another serious no-go area is for a retailer to advertise a great bargain and attract customers to a store where the consumer finds that the ‘bargain’ is not available but is then encouraged to purchase a similar product at a less advantageous price; this can be interpreted as ‘bait advertising’.

Retailers who are unsure of their compliance obligations can obtain information from the ACCC or contact Compliance Essentials at to arrange a no obligation chat.

So what is the issue with ‘compliance’?  Has the word acquired a bad image or does it go deeper?

One of the issues –  the decision makers in some organisations fail to admit that ‘compliance’ is relevant to what they do, whereas in fact every organisation has compliance obligations.

Forget the handle and move away from the concept of policing.  The issue does not necessarily lie with the concept of compliance, the issue rests with not acknowledging and accepting that adopting a compliant culture can bring benefits.

Organisations that can’t see the gain unfortunately don’t acknowledge the potential of pain until it happens to them.  Using the analogy of insurances, it isn’t common practice to wait, for example until there has been a theft or involvement in a car accident, to think about insurances; most of us buy the required policies to protect ourselves and/or our businesses in case the bad things happen outside of our control.  In a similar way, using best endeavours to proactively implement compliance in an organisational environment is a means of taking control as well as protecting a business from the risk of serious compliance breaches that could, amongst other outcomes, cause injury, have a financial impact, damage reputation.

Why not take the benefits, which are manifold, and will ultimately make a contribution to the bottom line.

By the way, it is calculated to be far more costly to remedy a proven compliance breach than to be in control with the implementation of a compliance plan………….

The Compliance Essentials Team

We have a compliance tick for a major high street retailer – having purchased a couple of small items with a one year warranty it was impressive to find that the till docket noted not only which items included in the purchase carried a warranty but also added a narrative setting out the retailer’s terms and conditions for warranties against defects.

From January 2012 where a written warranty against defects is given to a consumer at point of sale there is a requirement to set out the terms and conditions in a manner prescribed by the ACCC.  More information is available from the ACCC website

Compliance Essentials can assist your business; contact us on 1300 602 880 or visit our website at


What is meant by ‘misleading advertising’?  Under Australian Consumer Law a supplier is obligated not to engage in misleading or deceptive conduct or to make false or misleading representations.  Put in the context of advertising the consumer must not be given the wrong impression about what is on offer.  (Advertising material includes print, catalogues, website, radio and television.)  Two recent actions by the ACCC demonstrate the concept of ‘misleading advertising’.  In July 2011 an action against Optus (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Singtel Optus Pty Ltd (No 4)) Optus was penalised to the tune of $5.26m for misleading advertising (across a range of media) in relation to its Think Bigger broadband internet offer.  Another large penalty ($1.25m) was handed down in December 2011 against high street trader Harvey Norman, in this instance misleading consumers as to the geographical availability of goods advertised in promotional catalogues.

These are big ticket items however all business is encouraged to carefully check advertising material to ensure that dealings with consumers are open and fair.

Compliance Essentials can assist your business in compliance with Australian Consumer Law; contact us at or free phone 1300 602 880