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Australian Consumer Law

Business in Australia

Australian Consumer Law

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) has several roles and responsibilities, including but not limited to enforcing national product safety laws, regulating unfair trading practices, and guaranteeing consumer rights. The ACL is administered by the ACCC and state and territory consumer protection agencies and executed by all Australian courts and tribunals. The Australian Consumer Law applies to all Australian businesses in every state and territory, as well as nationally. The complete text of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is contained in Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth).

Consumer Rights Protected by the ACL

The ACL regulates unfair trading practices and offers consumer protections in these areas:

  • Misleading or deceptive conduct: The ACL strongly forbids misleading or deceptive conduct and false or misleading representations by individuals or corporations in trade and commerce or connection with the supply of goods and services.
  • Unconscionable conduct: Any unethical business-to-business dealings or consumer transactions involving purchasing or supplying products and services are prohibited.
  • Consumer guarantees: Consumer guarantees apply concerning the supply of goods or services that require the following:

○ The goods must be of acceptable quality
○ The goods must conform to their descriptions
○ The goods sold must have proper titles
○ The goods must comply with any sample provided
○ The goods and services must be reasonably fit for the purpose which is made known to the supplier by the consumer

  • Penalties: Individuals face AUD500,000 in fines for ACL violations, while businesses face AUD10 million, three times the benefit from the violation, or 10% of the Australian corporate group’s annual turnover in the previous 12 months.
  • Product safety: A system in place provides strict accountability for property damage or personal harm caused by defective items purchased for personal, domestic, or home consumption. In addition, the ACL establishes product safety and information criteria that suppliers must follow.
  • Unfair contract terms: Unfair contract conditions in standard form or small business contracts are null and void.
  • Other unfair practices: Other unfair practices are prohibited under the ACL, such as pyramid schemes and unsolicited supply.

To read more about Australian Consumer Law, visit the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) websites and the Australian State and Territory agencies that enforce the ACL.

Visit the Australian Consumer Law website here.