In the wake of Apple reducing prices on the App Store according to exchange rates, we encouraged people to contact the ACCC with regards to increased Australian prices on online stores such as PSN and Xbox LIVE. The ACCC has started sending out replies and the message is consistent across the board: there's apparently very little the ACCC can do about it.
The replies have come in the form of stock letters which all state the same thing.
"The role of the ACCC is to ensure compliance with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act), which is designed to encourage fair trading and discourage anti-competitive conduct through a specific set of competition and consumer protection rules.
"I understand and sympathise with your concerns about the high prices that consumers pay for some products in the retail market compared to international prices. The ACCC is constrained by the legislation it administers and there are no provisions in the Act that prohibit this type of conduct. The ACCC has no power to set or control prices for goods and services at either the retail or wholesale levels. It does not have a direct role in regulating or setting prices except in the case of products or services that are declared under Part VIIA of the Act. The price of video games is not declared under Part VIIA. In these circumstances businesses are free to determine their own pricing policies and provided that they do this independently it is unlikely to raise concerns under the Act.
While the information you have provided is unlikely to raise concerns, I have made a record of your complaint in the ACCC’s national confidential database which is monitored to assist the ACCC in its enforcement activities.
The bolded section above is most likely referring to the fact that the Competition and Consumer Act states that price inquiries can only held on the following - defined as 'goods' in the act.
goods includes: (a) ships, aircraft and other vehicles; and (b) animals, including fish; and (c) minerals, trees and crops, whether on, under or attached to land or not; and (d) water; and (e) gas and electricity.
Obviously, video games are not in that list.
Still, as a consumer, you have the power to vote with your wallet. But at this stage, this appears to be the only avenue we have. We've contacted the ACCC and hope to hear more info soon.
Thanks to everyone who forwarded their replies.