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Competition and Consumer Law

Competition and Consumer Law encompasses a range of transactions and disputes of both of a commercial and consumer nature.

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 has replaced the former legislation known as the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Businesses cannot mislead consumers. There can be substantial fines imposed on businesses if they do. Unfair contracts, misleading and deceptive conduct, consumer protection and unconscionable conduct all now fall under the realm of Australian Consumer Law.

For example a business must not make any misleading representations of past trading figures to induce a buyer to purchase the business. Further the prohibition of deceptive conduct by businesses extends to transactions such as franchise disputes and joint ventures. 

Australian Consumer Law now imposes a general duty not to act in a way which could be unconscionable. Although this applies to some business transactions it is mainly there to protect consumers, especially with a view to promoting an equal bargaining position in the supply of goods and services to a consumer.

The consumer protection provisions and guarantees are contained in a schedule to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The schedule is designed to provide the consumer with as much protection as possible. For example, if a contract term, in a standard form consumer contract, is held by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to be unfair, then such a term may be found to be void and the contract treated as if that term never existed.

Consumer protection also extends to preventing businesses making any statements that are incorrect or likely to mislead a consumer. This encompasses advertisements as well as representations made by a person in a business.

Bennett & Philp Lawyers can advise both consumers and businesses in relation to all aspects of Competition and Consumer Law.

For all enquires relating to Competition and Consumer Law call us today.