A comprehensive review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) was undertaken in 2016 through Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ). The review was required to be undertaken under the terms of the Intergovernmental Agreement for the Australian Consumer Law.

The terms of reference for the review were broad, looking not only at whether the ACL is operating as intended (and not imposing unnecessary regulatory burdens on industry), but also considering the effectiveness of the multiple regulator enforcement model, whether the ACL has met COAG's objectives, and the flexibility of the framework to deal with emerging issues.

An interim report was issued in October 2016 for consultation, with submissions closing in December 2016. The interim report indicated that there was general stakeholder agreement that the ACL is functioning well, though there are areas for improvement. The Interim Report asked for feedback on a broad range of issues including for example, of relevance in the communications sector, regulation of unsolicited contracts, whether current ACL measures are sufficient to ensure price transparency in online shopping and the effectiveness of consumer guarantees in the online environment.

The report is due to be finalised by March 2017. The Government's response to the report may well have wide ranging implications in the communications sector.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.