Competition and Consumer Act 2010

In 2010 the Commonwealth Labor Government introduced amendments to the existing Trade Practices Act. As part of those changes the Act was renamed to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

As part of the first draft of amendments to this area of law the government has introduced provisions relating to “unfair contracts”.

This relates to contracts that which would be better known in any industry as standard contracts for a particular organization or enterprise. As part of those changes the government has introduced nine consumer guarantees that must apply to such standard contracts and to ensure that they are not unfair contracts.

Those guarantees range from ensuring that goods are of an acceptable quality on sale to a consumer – this is given by both the supplier and the manufacturer – to ensuring that the supplier guarantees that goods are reasonably fit for any purpose the consumer or supplier specifies at the time of entering into the agreement.

Suppliers and manufacturers now have to guarantee that their description of goods in marketing materials and in representations made about those products are accurate and that any samples or demonstrations given match the provided product.

Further, service providers now have to guarantee that services are provided with due care and skill, that their services are fit for the purpose intended, and that services are provided within a reasonable timeframe if a timeframe is set.

Even though some of the changes introduced by the government do not come into effect until 2012, companies need to start reviewing and amending their practices to comply now to ensure that they are compliant when the laws come into full effect.

A further change that the government has introduced is that providers of products and services can no longer have policies or documentation stating it does not offer refunds or does not offer refunds on sale items.

Under the new guarantees any faulty or unfit goods must be exchanged regardless of the price it was purchased at. If you think that your policies or procedures may be non-compliant, please feel free to ring us at 1300 428 947 or email us at commercial@hatzis.com.au – we have a fixed fee service to review your existing terms and conditions and look forward to assisting you.

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