What is a compliance program?

A compliance program is an internal business process that is designed to:

  • identify and reduce the risk of breaching the Competition and Consumer Act
  • remedy any breach that may occur
  • create a culture of compliance within the organisation

Why has Apex Hearing developed its own compliance program?

For some time there has been concern in the hearing profession that some hearing clinics are not transparent in their customer relationships, and may:

  • set sales targets and performance measures to encourage selling of more hearing aids
  • pay clinicians commissions to encourage selling of more expensive hearing aids
  • have arrangements that favour certain brands of hearing aids without disclosing this
  • be owned by the companies that manufacture the hearing aids they sell


ACCC is taking action

The ACCC has started taking action against hearing aid retailers for false or misleading conduct. Background to the ACCC investigation can be found here.

Some examples of recent ACCC action include
ACCC takes action against hearing aid retailers for misleading pensioners
Leading Australian hearing clinic pays penalties for misleading customers

At Apex Hearing we do not set sales targets or pay commissions, or have agreements with hearing aid manufacturers to fit only one or two brands. We have established our own Compliance Program so our clients can be confident that not only are we acting in a transparent way, but that we also have rigorous internal processes to monitor our compliance against legal and ethical standards.

Apex Hearing’s Voluntary Compliance Program

Apex Hearing will establish a Voluntary Competition and Consumer Compliance Program (the Program) that complies with each of the following requirements:

Training
1. Within 3 months of the Program coming into effect, and thereafter at least once every 2 years, a Director of Apex Hearing will undergo training on the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, focusing on Schedule 2, the Australian Consumer Law. This training will be administered by a suitably qualified professional or company with expertise in competition and consumer law.

2. Within 3 months of the Program coming into effect, and thereafter at least once every 2 years, a Director of Apex Hearing will undertake the ACCC Small Business Education Program and take any required actions arising from the program.

3. Within 3 months of the Program coming into effect, and thereafter at least once every 2 years, a Director of Apex Hearing will conduct the Victorian Government Small Business Self-Assessment Checklist and take any required actions arising from the checklist.

Complaints handling
4. Within 3 months of the Program coming into effect, Apex Hearing will develop procedures for recording, storing and responding to competition and consumer law complaints.

Provision of Compliance Program documents to the ACCC
5. Apex Hearing will maintain a record of and store all documents relating to and constituting the Program for a period not less than 3 years from the date of the most recent training referred to in paragraph 1.

6. If requested by the ACCC during the period of the Program referred to in paragraph 5, Apex Hearing will provide to the ACCC copies of all documents constituting the Program, including:

  • a written statement or certificate verifying that the training referred to in paragraph 1 has occurred, and
  • an outline of the complaints handling system referred to in paragraph 4.

Date of this Program coming into effect:
1 August 2019

Further information

Why choose an independent clinic? Read more here