Big biz 'not joining dots'

Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims.
Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims. AAP Image/Dean Lewins

THE nation's top consumer cop has launched a blistering attack on big businesses, saying he is "continually puzzled” why some treat their customers "so badly and with so little respect” as he renewed calls for heftier penalties for dodgy-doers.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims on Wednesday said some companies set out to deceive customers and make "self-serving arguments” in public policy debates then "wonder why their standing in the community and their ability to influence public debate is so low”.

"They often do not seem able to connect the obvious dots,” Mr Sims told the National Consumer Congress in Melbourne.

He took aim at car companies that deny motorists their rights to refunds and airlines for online booking systems that automatically include extras people don't want but have ended up paying for in some instances.

Mr Sims repeated his calls for tougher penalties for big businesses because the current maximum of $1.1million per breach was not a sufficient deterrent.

"Penalties as they currently stand simply do not resonate,” Mr Sims said.

John Rolfe

Topics:  accc big business

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