THE consumer watchdog has received more than 600 complaints or inquiries about the carbon tax's impact on prices in just 10 days.
The federal government's $23-a-tonne impost on carbon emissions started on July 1.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says of the more than 8000 general complaints it has received so far this month, 630 related to the carbon tax
Of the complaints only 20 companies are currently under investigation.
“The complaints we are investigating are spread across industries.” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims told news.com.au.
"The ones we are looking at are those where there may be a misrepresentation. For example the Brumby's matter."
Mr Sims said that most of the complaints received were about increases to electricity bills but many of these price increases are genuine.
“We've had complaints in the areas you would expect and the level of complaints pretty much line up with the impact of the carbon tax,” he said. “These are mainly in energy, refrigerant gases, landfill and the building industry.”
Mr Sims said the chances of the big energy companies trying to rip off customers are slim because they are already in the spotlight.
“There are big companies involved - Origin, AGL, True Energy - and the focus has been on them so much that they know what they should and shouldn’t do,” he said.
“In all states other than Victoria the regulator sets a regulated price and so that indicates what residents are going to be paying.”
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he was not at all surprised that complaints were being made about the tax.
"The best way to end the complaints is axe the tax," he told reporters in western Sydney on Thursday.
Mr Abbott said it was important for the ACCC to police firms ripping off consumers, but he noted the whole point of the carbon tax was to make power dearer.
"If it doesn't make power more expensive, it is not doing its job,'' he said. "If this tax doesn't hurt business, it's not working. If it is not hurting, it is not working."
ACCC deputy chairman Michael Schaper told ABC Radio that other sectors being complained about included construction, landfill and refrigerant gases.
"If we come across businesses that are really setting out to dupe consumers ... then we will certainly go after them," Dr Schaper said.
Bakery chain Brumby's is still being investigated after management told franchisees they should use the carbon tax as cover for unrelated price increases
Two solar companies, Polaris Solar and ACT Renewable Energy, earlier in July were found to have made misleading comments about the impact of the carbon tax on electricity prices.
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