The Australian Consumer Law reforms which are now in effect will
additional powers to impose civil penalties on corporations and
individuals for breaches of certain unfair competition and consumer
protection provisions of the Act of up to $1.1 million for a
corporation and $220,000, or disqualify a person from managing a
the power to order a company in breach of certain unfair
competition and consumer protection provisions to provide refunds
to redress the loss or damage suffered by third parties and
The ACCC will have new powers to issue:
a notice requiring a party to provide information and or
documents to substantiate any claims made - such as any advertising
- in relation to the supply of goods and services
an infringement notice to companies and individuals within 12
months after an alleged contravention of certain unfair competition
and consumer protection provisions imposing a fine of up to $6,600
for a company and $1,320 for an individual
a public warning notice if the Commission has reasonable
grounds to suspect that certain conduct may contravene certain
provisions of the unfair competition and consumer protection
provisions of the Act or if a person refuses or fails to comply
with a substantiation notice.
What does this mean for you?
This amendment adds some real teeth to the powers to enforce the
TPA. In particular the ACCC can in effect reverse the onus to
require any advertiser to justify their claims by issuing a
substantiation notice - irrespective of whether the ACCC has any
basis to believe the advertising may not be 100 percent
There are also, for the first time, penalties of up to $1.1
million for "unconscionable conduct", including
unconscionable conduct towards small business.
These changes reinforce the need for Australian companies to
review and update their compliance programs.
Contraventions of the consumer and fair trading parts of the Act
now face a much stiffer regime for enforcement and the costs of a
careless or inadvertent breach has now become much higher.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Sportscraft refunds and returns policy limitations went beyond consumer's rights under the Australian Consumer Law.
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