The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has examined consumer and competition issues that are associated with consumer-facing customer loyalty schemes (loyalty schemes) in Australia, including the way in which loyalty schemes collect, use and disclose consumer data. Consumer and competition issues arising from customer loyalty schemes are a current priority for the ACCC. The operators of loyalty schemes must ensure they comply with the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and make sure their terms and conditions do not include any unfair contract terms. It is also paramount that the operators of loyalty schemes ensure consumers have a genuine opportunity to review and understand the policy and operation of loyalty schemes to avoid misleading and deceptive conduct. A significant number of Australian consumers have reported experiencing a variety of issues participating in loyalty schemes. The ACCC and ACL regulators in states and territories have received approximately 2000 reports about loyalty schemes in the five years to December 2018.
The ACCC’s review of the major loyalty schemes in Australia focused on the following key issues:
- Consumer issues: whether consumers are properly informed and receive the benefits advertised by loyalty schemes.
- Data practices: the collection, use and disclosure of consumer data by loyalty schemes and their partners.
- Competition issues: the potential impact of loyalty schemes on competing firms, in particular on new entrants.
The purpose of this report is to highlight the consumer and competition issues associated with loyalty schemes to both educate consumers and inform the industry of the ACCC’s concerns with certain practices.
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