In recent years, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken a specific interest in fair practices in the agricultural supply chain. Following extensive stakeholder consultation, in February the ACCC released a discussion paper titled ‘Agricultural machinery: after-sales markets.’ The ACCC acknowledge that agricultural machinery involves significant upfront and ongoing costs and therefore it is important that the market is competitive and that consumers are aware of their rights.
The discussion paper identified four main issues for purchasers. Firstly, limited access to independent machinery repairs. In many cases manufacturers will void warranty if purchasers carry out repairs themselves or through an independent repairer. This allows manufacturers to charge monopoly prices. Secondly, the lack of recourse for faulty machinery, given it is generally not covered by the ACL consumer guarantees and manufacturers warranty is often limited. The third issue is the limited access to repairs due to agreements between dealers and manufacturers which place undue risk on local dealers. Finally, the discussion paper raised privacy concerns as a result of increasingly complex computer and data systems. The ACCC is inviting submissions from stakeholders on issues including but not limited to those outlined in the discussion paper until the end of May.