The New Consumer Protection Law is here

January 19, 2011

On 1st January 2011 we welcomed the New Year and the new Consumer Protection Law (ACL).

The ACL brings together a number of national, state and territory consumer protection laws to ensure consistency in the rights of consumers regardless of where they live. Equally all Australian businesses are on a level playing field in their dealings with consumers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will closely monitor business’ implementation of these new laws and will take strong enforcement action where necessary to protect consumers and to ensure that the level playing field the ACL established for businesses nationally is maintained.

Acting ACCC chairman Michael Schaper said:

"The national product safety system is now in place, harmonising product safety bans, standards and coordinating monitoring and enforcement efforts across all states and territories.

"This provides a more effective means of ensuring unsafe products are not sold to consumers... Businesses must now notify the ACCC within two days after they become aware that product they supplied caused, or may have caused, serious injury, illness or death."

Consumers can report product safety incidents by notifying the place of purchase, or by using the product safety web site www.productsafety.gov.au or by calling the ACCC on 1300 302 502.

There are a number of guarantees, for example: goods must be of acceptable quality, fit for the advertised purpose and match any description given to them.

Businesses could offer additional guarantees but cannot reduce these guarantees with their own company policies. It is significant for businesses to ensure that their policies, procedures and advertising comply with the ACL.

More information on the ACL can be found on the ACCC website www.accc.gov.au/ForBusinesses and state and territory fair trading websites and at www.consumerlaw.gov.au.

Also check our previous article Buyers and Sellers Should Check Refund Policies