Welcome to the Latest Edition of the Addisons Direct Selling Legal Update.

2013 has seen many interesting developments which impact upon the direct selling sector from a legal and regulatory perspective. In this edition, we highlight and comment upon some of these developments and their implications for the direct selling sector.

Set out below is an overview of the matters appearing in our Direct Selling Legal Update.

Unsolicited Consumer Agreements and the Australian Consumer Law - Federal Court Determines That "Do Not Knock" Signs are a Request to Leave

A landmark decision of the Federal Court on 11 October 2013 examines, for the first time in Australia, the issue of what constitutes a "request" to leave premises for the purposes of section 75 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). In ACCC v AGL Sales, Middleton J held that a "request" to leave the premises under section 75 of the ACL can include the display of a "Do Not Knock" sign on the front door of the premises.

Privacy – new obligations – is your company ready?

Significant changes to Australian privacy law will take effect in March 2014. We take a look at what these reforms mean for your company and what steps your company should be taking now in order to comply fully by March 2014.

Full Federal Court considers when independent contractors will be deemed employees - Ace Insurance Limited v Trifunovski [2013]

The question of whether a worker is an employee or contractor is often a grey area of law but particularly relevant to direct selling companies and the salesforce they engage. This issue was considered in detail by the Full Federal Court in Ace Insurance Limited v Trifunovski [2013].

Recent Developments in respect of Consumer Guarantees – Hewlett Packard ordered by the Federal Court to pay a pecuniary penalty of $3 million - Have you reviewed and updated your refunds and return policy and any satisfaction guarantee you provide?

In our October 2012 Direct Selling Legal Update, we outlined the new warranty against defects requirements contained in the ACL. Following on from this, we look at a recent ACCC enforcement action in which the Federal Court ordered Hewlett Packard to pay a penalty of $3 million in respect of false and misleading representations concerning the consumer guarantee rights in the ACL.

ACCC Negotiates Cosmetics Recall with Suppliers

The ACCC has recently negotiated with suppliers the recall of three cosmetic products after a product safety survey indicated that the products contained dangerous levels of microbial contamination. Microbial contamination can cause diseases and serious infections.

Foodies Beware! - ACCC Cracks Down on Misleading and Deceptive Credence Claims

In recent times, it is well recognised that consumers are prepared to pay more for food products that have "organic" qualities or have been manufactured, treated or prepared in an ethically humane manner. It is not surprising that the ACCC have cracked down significantly on the use of "credence" claims, such as "organic", emphasising that these types of claims are an enforcement priority and that it will continue to investigate actively any credence claims that are misleading and deceptive and will take action where necessary.

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.