Competition Commission releases New Buyer Power Guidelines that give Boost to Small Businesses

The new Guidelines, which are significantly different from the draft guidelines published for comment last year, provide a few notable guiding principles upfront:

  • the focus of the section 8(4) inquiry will be on the treatment and welfare of SME and HDP suppliers and whether that treatment is fair or not;
  • the inquiry will not involve the assessment of effects on final consumers nor will it seek to balance the welfare of suppliers against the welfare of final consumers (i.e. a benefit to consumers will not ameliorate an adverse effect on suppliers);
  • the inquiry will not, in determining whether or not the price or trading condition is unfair, consider whether the SME or HDP supplier faces other challenges or is efficient or not;
  • in order to establish a contravention, there need not be a specific materiality threshold in terms of the level of harm to the SME or HDP supplier.

These guidelines present the general principles that the Commission will follow in assessing whether alleged conduct contravenes section 8(4) of the Act.

Click here to access the Media Release.

Click here to download the Guidelines.

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