The Competition And Consumer Act Is Here To Protect You
New technologies have made commerce and trade easier and more sophisticated. However, this sophistication comes with several disadvantages. In an effort to stop fraud and scam artists, Australian lawmakers have written up a special law to protect consumers.
The Competition and Consumer Act is a law protecting people against unconscionable, misleading, and false conduct. The Competition and Consumer Act includes provisions that give consumers guarantees, placing prohibitions on misleading and false information. The law includes provisions to stop unfair contract terms, too.
Guarantees to Customers
The Competition and Consumer Act includes guarantees for the consumer in relation to the supply of goods and services. Listed below are some guarantees stated in the act.
- Guarantee to undisturbed possession;
- Guarantee that the goods are of acceptable quality;
- Guarantee as to repairs and spare parts;
- Guarantee as to express warranties.
- Guarantee as to due care and skill;
- Guarantee as to reasonable time for supply.
These listed guarantees must be included in all contracts: failure to include them is illegal.
There are penalties for businesses who contravene the law. These penalties are based on whether the guarantee was completely disregarded by the manufacturer or not. Penalties against manufacturers who knowingly break the law include issuing a full refund, along with compensation for loss or damages suffered.
For minor issues, the penalty could be as simple as the supplier fixing the problem. The repair must be carried out in a reasonable time: if not, the consumer can request a reimbursement from the supplier.
Unfair contract terms
The Competition and Consumer Act can void a standard consumer contract if a term in the contract is deemed unfair. A contract is seen as being unfair when there is a large imbalance each party’s rights and obligations.
A contract is considered unfair if it goes to unreasonable lengths to protect the business interests of the supplier. It’s also considered unfair if the terms cause damage (financial, emotional, or otherwise) to the other party when applied.
If you’re found guilty of unconscionable conduct, penalties can include fines of up to a whopping $1.1 million for corporations, and $220,000 for citizens.