The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) deputy chair Dr Michael Schaper has launched the 10th issue of Small Business in Focus at the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA) national summit in Sydney.

The report contains the latest small business and franchising complaints data and highlights the ACCC’s activities in the small business sector.

“Misleading conduct and false representations remain the most frequently complained about area for small businesses, with over 1300 complaints received in the January to June 2015 period,” he says. “Product safety issues also concerned small businesses with over 900 complaints in the same period.”

The introduction of the new Franchising Code on 1 January 2015 was reflected in a significant growth in franchising-related enquiries – the six months from 1 January 2015 saw a 63 per cent increase in enquiries over the previous six months.

"Franchisors, franchisees and would-be franchisees are recognising the need to educate themselves about the new Code to ensure they understand their rights and obligations under the law.”

In line with its enforcement priorities for 2015, the ACCC served audit notices on 12 franchisors to check their compliance with the new Code. The responses are now being assessed.

The Food and Grocery Code was introduced into law in June, which Aldi, Woolworths, Coles and About Life have all signed up to.

“Businesses that supply to the major retailers have significant new protections available to them under the Code. The ACCC has the power to investigate alleged breaches of the code, and can take enforcement action if necessary," says Schaper.

The ACCC’s free online education programs for small businesses, tertiary students and future franchisees continue to be popular, with more than 12,000 combined users in the first six months of 2015.

"Time-poor small business operators need educational resources that are practical, user-friendly and fit around their busy schedules. The positive response to our online programs demonstrates that they are meeting this need."

Small Business in Focus is available at