The Australian Consumer Law is the main law that protects the rights and interests of consumers and provides remedies for consumers in case of breach of the Australian Consumer Law. The text of the Australian Consumer law consists of :
Chapter 1 — Introduction: a single set of definitions and interpretive provisions about consumer law concepts. *
Chapter 2 — General protections: general protections, which create standards of business conduct in the market. Specifically, Chapter 2 includes:
- a general ban on misleading and deceptive conduct in trade or commerce;
-a general ban on unconscionable conduct in trade or commerce and specific bans on unconscionable conduct in consumer and some business transactions; and
- a provision that makes unfair contract terms in consumer contracts void. *
Chapter 3 — Specific protections: specific protections which address identified forms of business conduct. Specifically, Chapter 3 includes provisions: 0
- banning specific unfair practices in trade or commerce; 1
- dealing with consumer transactions for goods or services;
- on the safety of consumer goods and product related services;
- on the making and enforcement of information standards; and
- on the liability of manufacturers for goods with safety defects. *
Chapter 4 — Offences: criminal offences relating to certain matters covered in Chapter 3. *
Chapter 5 — Enforcement and remedies: national enforcement powers and remedies relating to consumer law.
The main function of the Australian Consumer Law is to protect consumers against: * Unfair practices of traders
* Unconscionable conduct of traders
* Misleading or deceptive conduct
* Specific false representations
* Unfair practices ( Gibson, Fraser, 2011)
It also provides safety and information standarts, establishes liabilities of manufactures and products. The law is continuously developing in order to protect customers against unfair practices of manufactures. In the past the remedies for dissatisfied customers were stated only in the common law, which was unable to provide sufficient protection. However, on 1 January, 2011 The Australian Consumer Law commenced , which was a big movement towards the provision of adequate protection of customers. It is elaborate law and it is applicable nationally, in all states and territories and also to Australian businesses. The Australia Consumer Law now includes:
a new, national unfair contract terms law covering standard form contracts; *
a new, national law guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services, which replaces existing laws on conditions and warranties; *
a new, national product safety law and enforcement system; *
a new, national law for unsolicited consumer agreements, which replaces existing State and Territory laws on door-to-door sales and other direct marketing; *
simple national rules for lay-by agreements; and new penalties, enforcement powers and consumer redress options, which currently apply nationally. (www.consumerlaw.gov.au)
A contract is an agreement which is made between two or more parties and it must be enforced legally. A contruct is concluded when an offer is made by one party to another one and the other party accepts it.
There is no particular definition for a ‘standard form contract’, however, standard form contract is usually made by one party and is not the subject of discussion between two parties. They are normally used for supply of goods and services to consumers in various industries. The contract is considered to be unfair if its terms are treated as if they have never existed.
Under the Competition and Consumer Act(2010), a ‘consumer contract’ is a contract for:
the supply of goods or services or
> the sale or grant of an interest in land to an individual who acquires it...
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