Consumer Protection Laws

Topics: Consumer protection, Law, Contract Pages: 6 (1888 words) Published: April 9, 2011
Part 1: Describe and contrast the laws of Australia and another country relating to consumer protection and offering goods for sale over the Internet.

The aim of consumer protection laws is to address the grievances of the consumers and protecting them from the unethical practices/ behavior or unfair trade practices of the manufacturer/ supplier (Ananymous, 2003). The central issues of the sales of goods online and the law include the development of e-commerce, the role of consumers, and regulation of e-commerce in regards to consumer protection, as well as a general consideration of the international operation of e-commerce (Ananymous, 2003). E-commerce can be considered a new way of conducting business that takes place in the intangible world of the internet. It has become an important economic activity across the world, since Internet technology develops rapidly.

Australian governments have passed consumer protection legislation because they believe that the common law of contracts cannot adequately protect the consumer in today’s complex market place (Australian Government, 2010). Both the Commonwealth and State governments have legislation to provide greater protection to consumers in contractual. These include The Trade and Practices Act 1974(Cth) and The Sale of Goods Act 1923 (NSW) (Australian Government, 2010). These both deal with unfair contract terms law covering standard form contracts, guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services, and civil penalties for breaches of the Australian Consumer Law (The Treasury, 2010).

Any company that does business on the internet faces a variety of legal issues such as, forming contracts, abiding by consumer protection laws and creating privacy policies (Mykytyn, 2005). These issues are global in nature and constantly evolving. When purchasing goods the buyer enters into an agreement that is regulated by the Sale of goods law 1979 (amendment), changed by the Sale and supply of products law, 1994 and the Sale and supply of products to customer’s laws, 2002 (Australian Government, 2010). These Australian laws give the buyer particular implied, or self-regulating, statutory rights, under the agreement of a sale. The agreement is a legally binding document between two sides, involving the replacement of something of worth, for instance, money for products (Australian Government, 2010).

The issue of sufficiently determining a ‘customer’ has been a main difficulty in planning customer protection legislation in Australia (The Treasury, 2010). The notions of customer found in State and Territory customer protection legislation differ greatly. Some are relied on the cost or nature of the products or services bought, others are relied on the person acquiring the products or services or the objective for which the products or services are bought. For example in Queensland only a “person” can be considered a customer in instances where the cost of the products or services is more than $40000, whereas other laws employ a broader notion based on “individuals”, which can contain partnerships, businesses and companies (The Treasury, 2010). Conflicting state and national laws can confuse both the consumer and business

In India, for many years the consumer was the most exploited segment of Indian society (Consumer Unity & Trust Society, 2008). The consumer remained helpless because they did not have any organised body or union supporting them, and therefore remained helpless because of the strength and power of Indian traders, manufacturers and industrialists (Consumer Unity & Trust Society, 2008). It is only recently that it has been recognised that the consumer has their own rights which need to be protected. The Consumers Protection Act was passed in December 1986. It seeks to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for that purpose to make provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement...
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