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Consumers and the ACL

What are my rights as a consumer?

The ACL offers consumer protections in the areas of:

  • unfair contract terms, covering standard form consumer contracts;
  • consumer rights when buying goods and services;
  • product safety;
  • unsolicited consumer agreements covering door-to-door sales and telephone sales; and
  • lay-by agreements;

Advice on different parts of the ACL can be found in the Guides below, or on the websites of the ACCC and the State and Territory agencies that enforce the ACL.

Guides to the ACL

The ACCC, ASIC and the State and Territory consumer protection agencies have prepared guides to help businesses and legal practitioners to understand key elements of the ACL.

The guides are designed to explain the ACL in simple language, but are not a substitute for the legislation. They provide general information and examples and do not constitute legal advice or a definitive list of situations where the law applies.

The ACL guides can be downloaded from the ACCC, ASIC or your State or Territory consumer protection agency.

Avoiding unfair business practices

The Avoiding unfair business practices guide [PDF 490KB] [RTF 511KB] covers misleading or deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, false or misleading representations and related offences, information standards and country of origin representations.

Consumer guarantees

The Consumer guarantees guide [PDF 619KB] covers what consumer guarantees apply to goods and services, who is responsible for these guarantees and when a remedy, such as a refund, repair or replacement, may be available.

For further information and resources about consumer guarantees, visit the ACCC website.

Product safety

The Product safety guide [PDF 490KB] [RTF 3.7MB] covers the national consumer product safety regime including bans, mandatory safety standards, product safety recalls, mandatory reporting of deaths and injuries, and product liability.

For more information about national product safety, visit the Product Safety Australia website at www.productsafety.gov.au.

Sales practices

The Sales practices guide [PDF 564KB] [RTF 4.0MB] covers unsolicited supplies, unsolicited consumer agreements, pyramid schemes, multiple pricing, lay-by agreements, referral selling and harassment and coercion.

Unfair contract terms

On 1 January 2011, the unfair contract terms provisions of the ACL applied in all jurisdictions. The unfair contract terms guide [PDF 490KB] [RTF 3.2MB] explains how these provisions operate. Copies of the revised guide may be downloaded from the ACCC, ASIC or your State or Territory consumer protection agency.

In November 2010, ASIC published regulatory guidance on Early termination fees for residential loans: Unconscionable fees and unfair contract terms [PDF 236KB].

Preventing unfair terms in window and floor covering agreements

National, state and territory consumer protection agencies have developed a guide to help legal practitioners and consumer advocates to recognise unfair terms in contracts for window and floor coverings [PDF 604KB] [RTF 295KB]. It will also help them understand how Australian consumer protection agencies apply unfair contract term legislation to such contracts.

Compliance and enforcement

The Compliance and enforcement guide [PDF 1.7MB] [RTF 640KB] sets out the principles that guide the compliance and enforcement approach of the ACCC, ASIC and the State and Territory consumer protection agencies in administering the ACL.