The most efficient way for consumers to get what they want is through the ‘market’, not the government, but businesses have more power than their customers. Some businesses can and will use abuse this power and cheat and steal from consumers to make money. Because of this, the government regulates the behaviour of businesses to have a market economy that functions properly. These laws mainly protect consumers against; misleading/deceptive representations, unconscionable conduct, unfair contracts, and unsafe goods and/or services. To protect consumers, different legal and non-legal approaches have been taken.
Statutory protections by the government, like the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the National Credit Code (NCC), and by the state, like the Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) and the Contracts Review Act 1980 (NSW), help regulate businesses and protect consumers. Under section 29 of the ACL, businesses are prohibited from making false claims about their products and/or services. In the ACCC v. Harvey Norman 2012 case, 4 Harvey Norman stores were found guilty of making false or misleading representation regarding consumer guarantee rights. The misrepresentations were made orally by sales people in the store. The Court recognised the issues and penalised the stores, issuing fines and ordering them to display in-store signs displaying corrective notices and implement a consumer law compliance program. Out of the four stores, two of them ceased trading in May 2013. This demonstrated how effective the consumer law achieves its objectives.
Independent governmental statutory agencies also help in enforcing the ACL and help to bring attention to businesses that are not complying with the law and help to fix the problem. An independent statutory body called the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) aims to make markets work for consumers, now and in the future. The ACCC helps to keep