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The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched a carbon price hotline (1300 303 609) and online claims form for people who think they’re being ripped off by businesses passing the Carbon Tax onto consumers.

Within a month of implementing the Carbon Tax, the ACCC received 1260 complaints regarding retailers who have hiked up the price of goods and services, following the implementation of the Carbon Tax. The ACCC has received complaints about recent price hikes from alcohol to taxis, pizza and even swimming pools. There’s even been reports of real estate agents trying to encourage Australians to buy homes now to “beat the carbon tax”, saysThe Sydney Morning Herald. Others reports involve gym goers being told their memberships will increase unless they bought an additional years’ coverage now.

However, the initiative and authority of the competition watchdog is questionable. The ACCC only takes action against businesses who abuse the Carbon Tax to increase their prices, if a complaint is voluntarily filed by a consumer.

Maximum penalties for business misconduct can involve fines of up to $66,000. In extreme cases the ACCC can launch Federal Court proceedings with penalties of up to $1.1 million.