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Australian Consumer Law

Overview

Woman shoppingBelow you will find a brief overview of each broad topic covered on this site.

Australia's consumer law continues to undergo significant change and, although there is a single 'Australian Consumer Law' there remain significant state and territory based legislation that may impact on consumer rights and business obligations with respect to consumers. This page does not attempt to traverse all areas of consumer law; instead, it focusses on four key areas:

  • consumer guarantees
  • unfair terms
  • unconscionable conduct

Prohibitions on misleading and deceptive conduct are also contained in the Australian Consumer Law, but are not confined to consumers; these are considered in the contract law pages.

These consumer law pages will be updated throughout 2018.

 

Misleading and deceptive conduct

The statutory prohibition of misleading and deceptive conduct can now be found in s 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (it was previously known as s 52 of the Trade Practices Act). Section 18 prohibits a person (including a corporation), acting in trade or commerce, from engaging in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.

View misleading conduct page.

 

Consumer guarantees

In 2011 a set of nationally consistent consumer guarantees replaced the previous set of federal, state and territory implied terms. These guarantee certain standards in consumer contracts and provide independent remedies in the event that they are breached.

View consumer guarantees page.


Unfair terms

A national unfair terms regime came into operation in 2010 which rendered void unfair terms in standard form consumer contracts.

Since that time the unfair terms regime has expanded to encompass unfair terms in small business contracts.

View unfair terms page.

Unconscionable conduct

In addition to unconscionable conduct in equity, which may vitiate a contract, statutory rules prohibiting unconscionable conduct exist. They now form part of the Australian Consumer Law.

View unconscionable conduct page.