Tertiary education program

Seeking payment for unrequested goods or services

Sections 40 and 43 of the ACL prohibit a business from engaging in false billing. That is, a business must not supply goods or services to a person who has not requested them, and then claim they must be paid for. Small businesses are especially vulnerable to these practices because they assume that the goods or services must have been requested.


  1. If a consumer arranges for a mechanic to carry out particular repairs and the mechanic carries out other repairs as well, the consumer does not have to pay for those additional repairs even if they were necessary.
  2. If a small business is advertised in a trade magazine or business listing without requesting that these advertisements be placed, the small business cannot be billed for this and is not obliged to pay an invoice.

The ACL further protects consumers who receive goods or services they did not request by providing that:

  • they are not liable for any loss or damage to the goods unless this was caused by their wilful and unlawful conduct
  • after a period of time the goods will become the property of the recipient, unless they unreasonably prevent the sender from recovering them
  • they are not liable for any loss or damage resulting from the supply of the services.