Media Releases

Commission releases investigation guidelines

17 December 2015

The Commerce Commission has released guidelines designed to help traders and consumers understand how it investigates competition and consumer matters.

The Competition and Consumer Investigation Guidelines cover a wide range of topics designed to help consumers, traders and lawyers understand what they can expect to happen during a Commission investigation. The guidelines cover areas such as how the Commission gets evidence and information and makes decisions, what compulsory powers the Commission has and how it decides to use them and whether, and when, the Commission will issue media statements or provide public information about an investigation.

Commission Chair, Dr Mark Berry said “We believe it is important that people who interact with us, in the context of an investigation, know what to expect. These guidelines have been drafted in plain English and in an easy-to-follow format so that our investigation processes are accessible to everyone. Whether you are a consumer who has made a complaint, a business being investigated, someone helping us with an investigation, or a lawyer representing a business, you now have access to detailed information about our processes and what you can expect.”

“The guidelines also detail five investigation principles that guide how the Commission investigates. These principles also outline the standards that we strive to reach in our investigations, dealing with matters like objectivity, fairness, timeliness, openness, transparency and accountability. We hope that these guidelines provide useful information for those that encounter the Commission in the context of an investigation,” said Dr Berry.

The guidelines are available now available on the Commission’s website.

Background

The Investigation Guidelines are a companion-volume to the Enforcement Response Guidelines that the Commission issued in 2012, and updated in 2013 to include Criminal Prosecution Guidelines. Together these guidelines comprise a suite of information designed to be of practical guidance to those traders, advisors and members of the public who interact with us during a competition or consumer investigation.