Australian Consumer Law and your Business
If you are a business owner, you will be aware that that as of 1 January 2011, all Australian businesses have had the same rights and responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). The ACL applies nationally and in all States and Territories and to all Australian businesses.
The expectation has been that every business is obliged to honour its obligations and respect a customer’s rights under the ACL.
To recap, the ACL includes:
Although most businesses comply with the law, all businesses should keep in mind they are required to meet general standards of business conduct, as well as comply with specific protections for consumers against unfair business practice. These include:
We now take the opportunity to look more closely at examples of unfair business practices:
Misleading or deceptive conduct
It is unlawful for a business to make statements in trade or commerce that are misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive. Business conduct is likely to break the law if it creates a misleading overall impression about price, value or quality of customer goods or services.
False or misleading representations
A business cannot make false or misleading representations about goods and services when supplying, offering to supply or promoting those goods or services.
Unconscionable conduct is generally a statement or action so unreasonable it defies good conscience. Examples of unconscionable conduct include not properly explaining the conditions of a contract to a person who does not speak English or has a learning disability, not allowing sufficient time to read an agreement, ask questions or obtain advice or failing to disclose key contractual terms.
Representation about country of origin
Businesses must not make false or misleading representations about the country of origin of goods. A representation can include words, pictures or both indicating that goods were made, produced or grown in a particular country.
Information standards regulate the type and amount of information provided to consumers about goods and services. Supplying goods and services that do not comply with an information standard is an offence.
If you are a business owner and you wish to check your business is operating in accordance with the ACL, please contact Senior Litigation Lawyer, Lynda Lim, for a full and frank discussion.