Published: 26 June 2013
Summary: The Australian Consumer Law is one law for all Australian consumers and businesses, so that no matter where you are in Australia you know your rights as a consumer and your obligations as a trader.
One law for all Australian consumers and businesses, so that no matter where you are in this country you know your rights as a consumer and your obligations as a trader.
That is the new Australian Consumer Law, which replaces seventeen existing national, state and territory laws.
The Australian Consumer Law, the ACL, will be enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the ACCC, and by state and territory consumer protection agencies.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, or ASIC, will enforce the Australian Consumer Law where it applies to financial services.
The ACL introduces a number of new features into the law, and your customers will expect you to know and abide by these. Most important are:
- a new consumer guarantees regime
- a new unfair contract terms regime
- a new national product safety and enforcement system
- national laws covering a number of sales practices
- new national rules for lay-by agreements; and
- new powers for the ACCC and other agencies to use when investigating possible breaches of the ACL.
Along with these, there are new penalties for courts to award if they find that the ACL has been breached.
The name of the Trade Practices Act is also changing.
From January the 1st 2011 it will be known as the Competition and Consumer Act.
It is important to remember that whilst the TPA is no more, the basic principles that underpin it - encouraging competition and promoting fair and honest trading - will remain the same.