Australian Consumer Law (ACL)

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

Consumer Guarantees

Under the ACL, businesses must guarantee the products they sell. This means that, generally, the products: are of acceptable quality, match the description, and are fit for a particular purpose. Guarantees also apply for services including guarantees that services are: provided with care and skill, fit for a particular purpose and carried out within a reasonable time.

See: Consumer Guarantees Fact Sheet for further information

Unsolicited Consumer Agreements

An unsolicited consumer agreement occurs where the supplier/salesperson approaches you to negotiate an agreement without you requesting it - either over the telephone or at a place other than the supplier’s premises. The price must also be over $100 or not fixed at the time of the agreement.

See: Unsolicited Consumer Agreements Fact Sheet for further information.

Unfair Contract Terms

Unfair contract term provisions apply to consumer standard form contracts. A term will be unfair if it creates significant imbalances between the rights of parties, is not reasonably necessary to protect the other party, and would cause detriment if enforced. If a term is unfair the term will be void.

Sales Practices

The ACL includes provisions relating to unsolicited supplies (where goods/services are supplied at no request), pricing (displaying multiple prices for goods), harassment and coercion, and lay-by agreements.

Unfair Business Practices

Unfair business practices include engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct, false/misleading representations and unconscionable conduct.

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.

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Conciliation Process

If you make a complaint, Consumer Protection will speak to the shop or business involved on your behalf and attempt to reach an acceptable solution for you.

If the complaint cannot be resolved, you will be directed to 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 breached Consumer Protection will also consider taking further action against the business if it is necessary to protect other consumers.

Further Information:

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

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If you believe a business has breached your consumer rights, or would like further advice please contact our telephone advice line for legal advice on (08) 9221 7066 Mondays – Fridays (except public holidays) between 9am – 4pm.