The proposed amendments to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) will strengthen consumer protection in Australia, but what does it mean for businesses?
The changes contained in the proposed Treasury Laws Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) Bill 2018 and the Competition and Consumer Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) Regulations 2018 include:
- Publicly listed companies no longer being exempt from unconscionable conduct protections alongside all classes of consumers
- A wider scope of actions which will lead to the requirement to issue a product recall, whilst increased penalties will apply with non-compliance
- Further false billing protection for unsolicited services will be implemented
- The scope of unsolicited consumer agreements will be expanded to include transactions away from business premises
- A requirement for single price goods and services to be included in the headline price
- Remedies and transport security for consumers who purchase goods online
- Extending the investigative powers of regulatory bodies (such as the ACCC and ASIC) in respect of possible unfair contractual terms
- Easing the evidentiary burden for claims under the ACL
- Providing consumer protection for financial products alongside financial services protection
- More detailed clarification regarding compulsory consumer warranties
These drafted amendments will significantly amend the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and the ACL contained therein; - as well as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 and the Competition and Consumer Regulations 2010.
What does this mean for Western Sydney businesses?
If, as anticipated, these amendments are incorporated into Australian law, they will create significant compliance requirements for businesses in relation to the ACL. Although the aim of these amendments is (apparently) to ensure that consumers are provided with strengthened protections in business relations, there is no doubt that businesses will need to spend significant time and money ensuring they meet these further regulatory requirements, and avoid possible investigation and / or prosecution.
In anticipation of these amendments, businesses would be well advised to become familiar with their new obligations, and be proactive in ensuring that these obligations can be complied with.
If you would like more information or advice in relation to the proposed changes to the ACL contact a Principal of Matthews Folbigg Lawyers:
Keli Law on (02) 9806 7443 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Simone Brew on (02) 9806 7440 or email@example.com