As an Australian enterprise proprietor, you might have heard the time period ‘ anti-competitive behaviour’ thrown round within the media and in enterprise circles. However have you learnt what anti-competitive behaviour is and the way it can probably have an effect on your small business actions in Australia?

Anti-competitive behaviour can take many varieties, and whereas some types of competitors are helpful for companies, anti-competitive behaviour can result in important hurt to customers and different companies.

On this article, we’ll clarify what anti-competitive behaviour is, the various kinds of anti-competitive behaviour, how anti-competitive behaviour can impression your small business and solutions to different ceaselessly requested questions.

Learn alongside!

What’s Anti-Aggressive Behaviour?

In Australia, anti-competitive behaviour refers to behaviours carried out by companies that restrict or forestall competitors. This behaviour is against the law because the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) bans companies from behaving in a means that damages competitors. The CCA restricts companies from performing anti-competitively by proscribing contracts, understandings, preparations or concerted practices which have the aim, impact or possible impact of considerably lessening competitors in a market.

What’s the market in regard to anti-competitive behaviour?

The time period market was outlined within the authorized case Re Queensland Co−operative Milling Association Ltd., Defiance Holdings Ltd. (Proposed Mergers with Barnes Milling Ltd as an space of shut competitors between companies or a discipline of rivalry between companies in which there’s substitution between one product and one other, and between one supply of provide and one other, in response to altering costs. A market has 4 parts:

  • Stage of operate
  • Geography
  • Product
  • Time

What Is ‘Considerably Lessening Competitors In The Market’?

Considerably lessening competitors out there is a time period used to explain a state of affairs the place a enterprise or a number of companies have interaction in conduct that has the impact of decreasing competitors in a specific market to a considerable diploma. The impact of being ‘substantial’ has been outlined in case regulation as being massive, weighty, huge, actual or of substance or not insubstantial, relying on the context. The impact is substantial if it is vital or weighty relative to the dimensions of the actual market.

In Australia, the CCA prohibits conduct that has the aim or impact of considerably lessening competitors in a market. Whether or not a enterprise has considerably lessened competitors is predicated on components akin to the next:

  • The scale and focus of companies out there
  • The doorway boundaries for brand spanking new rivals
  • The supply of substitute services or products
  • The diploma of market energy held by the companies concerned

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have the ability to take enforcement motion towards companies or companies in the event that they decide that the companies or group of companies have considerably lessened competitors out there. 

What are the various kinds of Anti-Aggressive Behaviour?


A Cartel refers to when a gaggle of companies comply with act collectively slightly than compete with one another. Cartels are unlawful. There are a variety of damaging impacts attributable to cartels, together with the next:

  • Wholesome financial development is restricted
  • Different companies and customers are cheated
  • They trigger costs to be pushed up
  • Cartels brought about a discount in funding and innovation 

In consequence, they preserve the phantasm of competitors whereas driving up the earnings of cartel members. Sure types of anti-competitive conduct which can be seen as cartel conduct embody the next:

  • Value fixing
  • Sharing markets
  • Rigging bids
  • Controlling the output or limiting the variety of items and companies obtainable to consumers

Based on the ACCC, cartels will be composed of companies of all sizes, akin to massive firms, small companies, native companies and cartels will be shaped between worldwide, nationwide or native companies. The legal guidelines that prohibit cartels are discovered within the CCA, and so they apply to people and all Australian firms which can be concerned in such exercise.

Imposing Minimal Resale costs

With reference to minimal resale costs, suppliers are prohibited from setting minimal costs for resale for the products and companies they supply to companies, as that is unlawful for them to take action, in response to the ACCC. 

Due to this fact, suppliers should keep away from doing any of the next:

  • Present retailers with discounted costs for promoting at a worth increased than the minimal
  • Prescribe minimal costs as a part of formal agreements or insurance policies  
  • Suppliers shouldn’t discriminate towards retailers who promote beneath the set worth, for example, by eradicating reductions or offering a warning
  • Suppliers shouldn’t refuse to provide items to retailers who promote underneath the minimal worth
  • Strain companies so as to cost their set costs; or
  • Forestall resellers from promoting, displaying or promoting the provider’s items beneath a specific worth

In regard to resellers, it’s unlawful for them to ask suppliers to ask their rivals to promote beneath a minimal worth.

Imposing minimal resale worth or ‘ resale worth upkeep’ is towards the regulation because it prevents retailers from competing on worth, which due to this fact results in elevated costs for customers.

Anti-competitive agreements

Anti-competitive agreements are unlawful in accordance with section 45 of the CCA. This part states that agreements that considerably reduce competitors are unlawful. 

Unique Dealings

Unique dealings check with conditions when two companies are buying and selling, and one enterprise imposes restrictions on the liberty of the opposite enterprise in regard to the next:

  • What the opposite enterprise sells or buys
  • Who the opposite enterprise is allowed to conduct enterprise with
  • The place the opposite enterprise is allowed to commerce

The ACCC states that unique dealings are unlawful after they considerably reduce competitors. Due to this fact, it’s authorized if it doesn’t considerably reduce competitors.

Collective Bargaining & Boycotts

Collective bargaining refers to conditions the place rivals come collectively so as to negotiate with a provider or a buyer over phrases, situations and costs. A collective boycott occurs when a gaggle of rivals determine to cease shopping for from or promoting to the enterprise that the group is negotiating with. They may solely proceed to purchase or promote to the enterprise if the enterprise agrees to the phrases and situations set by the group.

Collective bargaining happens when a gaggle collectively agrees to not:

  • Purchase items or companies from the enterprise or
  • To not provide items or companies to the enterprise

Based on the ACCC, collective bargaining is more likely to breach Australian Competitors regulation. It is because, on the whole, competitors regulation states that companies should make their very own choices in regard to phrases, pricing, situations and enterprise companions.

Misuse of market energy

Normally, a enterprise having or utilizing its market energy so as to outcompete others isn’t unlawful. Nevertheless, it’s unlawful when a enterprise makes use of its market energy for the aim of considerably lessening competitors. When courts are contemplating whether or not there was a misuse of market energy, they think about the next:

  • Whether or not the enterprise has substantial market energy
  • Whether or not the enterprise is partaking in conduct for the aim, impact or possible impact of considerably lessening competitors

When the ACCC is figuring out whether or not a enterprise has substantial market energy, they think about the next components:

Cooperation between companies

As a consequence of competitors being depending on the impartial choices made by companies, cooperation between companies can probably breach competitors regulation. The ACCC states that considerably lessening competitors by contracts, preparations, or understandings is against the law. Moreover, it’s additionally unlawful for companies to create different types of communication or cooperation that considerably reduce competitors, akin to cooperations that don’t contain any understanding, settlement or contract. 

Unconscionable Conduct

This refers to conduct that’s so harsh that it goes towards good conscience. The definition is so basic as a result of there is no such thing as a exact definition of unconscionable conduct by regulation. Unconscionable enterprise behaviour is deemed as behaviour that’s harsh or oppressive and past arduous industrial bargaining.

Value Signalling

Value signalling refers to when companies agree on a set worth as a substitute of competing. This can be a type of cartel conduct and is due to this fact unlawful if it ends in considerably lessened competitors. 

Predatory Pricing

Predatory pricing refers to when a enterprise that has substantial market energy provides a really low worth to customers for its items and companies for an extended time frame. Predatory pricing will be unlawful as a result of it has the potential to considerably reduce competitors out there. Predatory pricing goals to attain the next for a enterprise:

  • Inducing rivals to depart the market
  • Punishing or harming rivals that competed aggressively
  • Stopping potential rivals from becoming a member of the market

Predatory pricing is against the law in response to Section 46 of the CCA prohibits a company with a considerable diploma of energy in a market from partaking in conduct that has the aim or impact of considerably lessening competitors in that or some other market. This consists of predatory pricing.

How does the Australian Competitors and Client Fee regulate anti-competitive behaviour?

The ACCC does the next to deal with anti-competitive behaviour in Australia:

  • The ACCC investigates probably unlawful anti-competitive behaviour
  • Promotes and protects market competitors
  • The ACCC supplies companies with data in regard to their obligations pursuant to the legal guidelines associated to competitors
  • The ACCC enforces the regulation in relation to anti-competitive behaviour by taking motion towards companies breaking the regulation

Nevertheless, try to be conscious that the ACCC doesn’t get immediately concerned in disputes between companies or present authorized recommendation to companies.

Steadily Requested Questions (FAQs)

Why is aggressive behaviour vital for companies?

Competitors between companies is essential as a result of following optimistic impacts:

  • On account of competitors, companies are compelled to be modern and enhance their effectivity
  • Decrease costs for customers
  • Providers and merchandise of a better customary
  • Customers have extra choices
  • A rise in prosperity and welfare for all Australians

How will you report anti-competitive behaviour?

Everybody has the power to report anti-competitive enterprise behaviour to the ACCC. The steps on how to make a complaint as a business are outlined by the ACCC. The three steps are as follows:

  1. Contacting the provider in regard to the problems associated to the companies or items which have been provided to you. It’s advisable that you just define the problems that you’ve with the companies or items in writing
  2. Contacting the ACC or one other third occasion that will help you resolve your problem with the provider. In case your grievance is in regard to unlawful anti-competitive behaviour by one other enterprise, it is best to get in contact with the ACCC. You may as well contact the ACCC in regard to points you may have with items which have been provided to you in addition to Industry ombudsmen and dispute resolution schemes and state and territory consumer protection agencies
  3. In case your problem remains to be unresolved after contacting the ACCC or one other third occasion, you may take authorized motion. Earlier than you are taking this step, it is best to rent a lawyer for authorized recommendation to see whether or not authorized motion is required. Authorized motion will be costly, and success will not be assured

What behaviour could be thought of to be authorized?

If your small business behaviour is reputable, it’s extremely not like that your small business can be breaking the regulation. Competitors on truthful phrases is appropriate so long as a enterprise doesn’t limit its competitor, whatever the hurt it might trigger to a competitor’s enterprise. The next behaviour could be thought of to be authorized behaviour in response to the ACCC:

  • Improving services or products or inventing new ones by investing in analysis
  • Making sincere and correct claims in promoting their services or products so as to achieve prospects
  • Decreasing prices by optimising their processes
  • Creating new merchandise that  trigger a market to be disrupted
  • Providing decrease costs in response to cost competitors
  • Beginning a brand new enterprise that’s much like one other enterprise in a close-by location

It’s not unlawful to have interaction in such behaviour as a result of it advantages customers and the economic system.

Are you able to search an exemption from behaviour which may represent as anti-competitive behaviour?

Your online business can search an exemption from behaviour that’s probably anti-competitive and would due to this fact breach competitors regulation from the ACCC. If your small business is supplied with the exemption, it’s protected against any authorized motion being introduced towards it in relation to the association or conduct. You have to be conscious that the ACCC solely supplies exemptions for behaviour that’s within the public’s curiosity and for behaviour that doesn’t considerably reduce competitors.

What are the results of anti-competitive behaviour?

As a consequence of anti-competitive behaviour breaching Part IV of the CCA, there are authorized penalties. You have to be conscious that the utmost penalty for a company that breaches Half IV of the CCA is a nice of $50,000,000. Whereas the utmost penalty for a person breaching Half IV is  $2,500,000.

Extra particularly, if a person is discovered to be taking part in a cartel, they will resist 10 years of jail or obtain a nice of as much as 2000 penalty items. If a company is discovered to be taking part in a secondary boycott, it will possibly face penalties of as much as $750,000 


In conclusion, anti-competitive behaviour is against the law as a result of it’s unfair to considerably restrict competitors in a market. When you’re involved as a result of a competitor is taking part in anti-competitive behaviour, it is best to rent a lawyer for authorized recommendation to find out whether or not they’re behaving in an anti-competitive method.

Contrastingly, if you’re uncertain whether or not your small business is behaving in an anti-competitive means, it is best to rent a lawyer for authorized recommendation with the intention to keep away from the authorized penalties related to anti-competitive behaviour.