New rules designed to ensure UK businesses remain competitive will mean that small and medium-sized enterprises are no longer bullied by bigger businesses, according to ACCA.
The introduction of the Competition Act on Wednesday will mean SMEs can blow the whistle on companies which abuse their dominant position in the marketplace, the association said.
The Act prohibits agreements, business practices and conduct which would unfairly damage competition in the UK.
This includes agreements to fix purchase or other selling practices or trading conditions; limit or control production, markets, technical development or investment; shares markets or sources of supply; apply different trading conditions to equivalent transactions which will put some parties at a competitive disadvantage; and, make contracts subject to unrelated supplementary conditions.
David Harvey, Head of ACCA’s Small Business Unit, said: ‘The Act means that smaller businesses now have a forum for complaint if they are victims of anti-competitive behaviour. The Director General of Fair Trading has wide-ranging powers to investigate suspected breaches – his officials can enter premises and demand relevant documents or even get a warrant to make a search. Companies found to be in breach of the Act can be fined up to ten per cent of the their UK turnover.’