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Articles and legal news from the Atkinson Vinden Team.

Proposed changes to the Australian Consumer Law

Commercial Law

Every business operator needs to be on top of how the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) operates, including the regular amendments being made.

Currently there is legislation before Federal Parliament which, if passed, will impact on the wording of consumer warranties, and the potential penalties imposed on companies which breach the ACL.

In relation to warranties, at present the ACL mandates that a notice is included in any warranty where the recipient of goods is a consumer. This wording specifically notifies the consumer of the existence of the Consumer Guarantees, ensuring they are aware of their legislative protections. Under the proposed change, new wording will be required in relation to services and where both goods and services are being provided together.

Regarding penalties, previously these were significantly lower than those found in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). In order to rectify this, the penalties will be increased, so that a breach of the ACL by a corporation could result in penalties of up to $10m, or three times the value of the benefit obtained from the breach. This is a significant increase from the current maximum penalties of $1.1m for a corporation, or $220,000 for an individual

The bill is currently subject to debate and there may be amendments to its final form. Regardless, it is important that all businesses review their compliance with the ACL, particularly in light of the increased penalties which may be applied. Should you have any concerns regarding your ACL compliance, or require further information about the proposed changes, please contact our commercial law team on 02 9411 4466.