Key ACCC priorities for 2022.

9 March 2022 | Reading time: 2 minutes


  • In early March 2022, Rod Sims handed down the ACCC’s 2022/2023 Compliance and Enforcement Priorities.
  • Some issues and industries of concern include manipulative digital advertising techniques, exclusive arrangements that impact competition and false ‘green’ credentials.
  • Affected businesses should review their practices and agreements to avoid receiving unwanted attention from the consumer watchdog.

Manipulative digital marketing

Following on from its Digital platform services inquiry, the ACCC will be centring in on manipulative or ‘dark pattern’ techniques used to exploit or strong-arm consumers. Mr Sims referred specifically to everyday online retail occurrences, such as:

  • misleading scarcity reminders (eg low stock warnings);
  • false countdown timers for online sales;
  • pre-selected add-ons in online shopping carts; and
  • utilisation of consumer data in targeted advertising.

The ACCC will also be watching out for influencers who utilise their platform to promote consumer goods without clearly disclosing that they have been paid (or received some other incentive) to do so. Advertisers of therapeutic goods will also be subject to the new Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code 2021, which also has an impact on influencer marketing.

Market power holders engaging in exclusive arrangements

The ACCC will make a concerted effort to identify and address companies with market power engaging in exclusionary behaviour (such as exclusive supply arrangements) that materially impacts competition by restricting access to bottleneck goods.

The ACCC will also be focussing on ‘most favoured nation clauses’ that prevent competitors to powerful businesses from offering better pricing to consumers.

Misleading environmental and sustainability claims

Mr Sims noted growing concerns in relation to the use of misleading environmental credentials to capitalise on a consumer’s eco-friendly preferences. As a result of this behaviour, businesses suffering genuine expenses of environmentally friendly manufacturing processes face unfair opposition from businesses making the same ‘green claims’, but not incurring any of the same costs.

The ACCC will not only focus sustainability claims made in relation to consumer goods, but will be reviewing all such claims made about manufacturing process, carbon neutrality and the energy sector.

Avoid unwanted scrutiny

Businesses should closely review their practices and agreements to ensure compliance with consumer and competition laws where they are:

  • making sustainability claims;
  • operating and advertising in the digital space; or
  • engaging in exclusionary behaviour (particularly those with market power).