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					 Edith Cowan University
Risk Management and Audit Assurance




Trade Practices Act
Essentials

Introduction                                             

This guide is designed to assist Edith                  Anti Competitive Conduct 
Cowan University staff to understand                    Do not enter into any arrangement or understanding
                                                        with anyone where the purpose or effect would be to
the University’s obligations under the                  substantially lessen competition.
Trade Practice Act 1974 (Cth) (TPA)
                                                        Whether any agreement is likely to substantially
and the Fair Trading Act 1987 (WA)                      lessen competition in a particular market is a difficult
(FTA).                                                  question. It can only be answered by analysis of:
The TPA imposes obligations in the                          •   the particular product or service market
areas of restrictive trade practices,                       •   the geographic limits of the market
consumer protection and                                     •   the number of participants in the market
unconscionable conduct.
                                                            •   the market share of these participants
It applies to the business activities of the                •   other forces operating in the market
University in the same manner as it
applies to other trading corporations.                  Dealing with Competitors

All University staff are expected to be                 Never agree with any of your competitors either to
                                                        boycott suppliers or customers, or to trade only with
familiar with the general provisions of                 particular suppliers or customers.
the TPA, particularly staff involved in:                Never discuss prices, price changes or any other
• Providing courses                                     matter which may relate to competition, with
                                                        competitors.
• Purchasing or supplying goods or                      Never try to stop or unfairly hinder a business from
  serves                                                competing in a market.

• Advertising, promotions and
  marketing




                     Risk Management and Audit Assurance Email: compliance@ecu.edu.au
  Edith Cowan University
  Risk Management and Audit Assurance

  Dealing with Customers and Suppliers
                                                                   Definitions:
  Never refuse to supply goods or services to any
                                                                   False: The statement must not be false – this simply
  person unless you have referred the matter to senior
                                                                   means that the statement is not correct, regardless
  management.
                                                                   of whether the statement-maker knew it to be false.
  Never require any of your customers to buy goods
                                                                   Misleading: an assertion that, because of the
  or services from another supplier as a condition of
                                                                   context in which it is made or what it contains or
  you supplying your own goods or services (whether
                                                                   omits, is capable of being misunderstood and of
  at a special price or otherwise) to that customer.
                                                                   leading a person into error.
  Generally assume that distributors of ECU products
                                                                   Representation: can be oral or written, active or
  are free to handle competing products. The Trade
                                                                   passive and may arise as a result of statements
  Practices Act places certain limitations upon a
                                                                   made or by implication from conduct.
  corporation’s right to preclude its distributors from
  handling competing products. Seek legal advice if                Take special care when repeating a statement made
  you are in any doubt as to whether or not                        by another person or passing on information
  arrangements with a distributor may breach the Act.              supplied by another person. State the source of the
                                                                   information and/or check its correctness.
  Never impose restrictive conditions upon the supply
  or acquisition of products. If this is required seek             When promoting our services and/or comparing our
  advice from a University TPA contact.                            services to those of our competitors, make sure you;

  Business Dealings /                                                  •   Consider the advertisement from the
  Promoting Your Business                                                  consumer’s point of view – is the ordinary
                                                                           person likely to be misled?
  Be aware of what may constitute misleading or
  deceptive conduct in order to avoid it. The Act                      •   Compare like products (apples with apples).
  prohibits both conduct which is misleading or                        •   Get the correct facts about the competitor’s
  deceptive, and conduct which is likely to mislead or                     product.
  deceive, intent is irrelevant. Such conduct can result
  from words or conduct (including silence). A lack of                 •   Ensure that the comparison is up to date.
  full and frank disclosure can amount to misleading                   •   Be careful not to omit relevant facts where
  and deceptive conduct.                                                   to do so might be misleading to the
           Example: ACCC v Black on White Pty Ltd                          consumer.
           [2001] FCA 187: Black on White operated a               Carefully vet advertisements prior to publication to
           private college for education and advertised            ensure that minimal errors occur in reproducing
           that its courses were accredited with various           material, thereby avoiding potential complaints and
           government vocational training accreditation            possible corrective advertising obligations. Ensure
           systems when they were not. Black on                    that all information printed in advertisements is clear
           White was found to have breached s 52 of                and unambiguous.
           the TPA.
                                                                   Do not take advantage of another person’s lack of
  Ensure the accuracy of and the basis for any                     understanding of English, or the documents or
  representations which you make on behalf of ECU.                 details of a transaction, size, experience or
  Any representation in relation to supply which is                sophistication. Let people decide for themselves,
  false or misleading is in breach of the TPA.                     and do not exert undue influence or pressure or use
                                                                   unfair tactics to get them to do something that may
                                                                   not be in their interests to do.




Generally                                                             TPA Contacts
This Trade Practices Act – Essentials document is intended to be      Director, Risk Management & Audit Assurance
used as a guide to TPA obligations only.                              Ph: 63042495
                                                                      University Lawyer/Manager, Legal Services
It is not intended to be interpreted as legal advice.                 Ph: 63042016
If you have a query about your obligations under the TPA or FTA,      Risk & Compliance Coordinator
please contact a University TPA contact.                              Ph: 63042056


                             Risk Management and Audit Assurance Email: compliance@ecu.edu.au

				
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