Australian Consumer Law (ACL)

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is the national law for fair trading and consumer protection.  It applies from 1 January 2011 and it provides consumers with rights with respect to:

  • consumer guarantees;
  • unsolicited consumer agreements covering door-to-door sales and telephone sales;
  • unfair contract terms, covering standard form contracts;
  • sales practices; and
  • unfair business practices.

The ACL is enforced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and consumer agencies in each State and Territory. In Western Australia you can contact the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Consumer Protection) if you need advice or want to lodge a complaint.

Conciliation Process

If you make a complaint, Consumer Protection will speak to the shop or business involved on your behalf and try and reach an acceptable solution for you. While the department cannot make orders against a business the process is worth trying as close to 70 per cent of all complaints received are resolved in this way. If for some reason the complaint cannot be solved, you will be told about other options that may help, for example tribunals such as the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT infosheet ), other government departments or independent legal advice.

If the law has been broken Consumer Protection will also consider taking more action against the business if it is necessary to protect other consumers. This may not help to resolve your particular dispute but it will help to prevent future problems for you and for other consumers.

You may also wish to read the following fact sheets for more information on specific protections provided under the ACL:

Consumer guarantees fact sheet

Unsolicited Consumer Agreements fact sheet

To find out more about your rights when buying goods and services in Australia, you can watch the videos prepared by Australian consumer protection agencies called ‘My Consumer Rights’.

To access these videos in other languages, click the links below.

English | Arabic | Dinka | Farsi | Karen | Nepalese | Tamil

If you believe a business has breached your consumer rights you can contact our telephone advice line for legal advice.