The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is the national law for fair trading and consumer protection.
The ACL is a national, generic law which applies in the same way to all sectors and in all Australian jurisdictions. This means that all consumers in Australia enjoy the same rights and all businesses have the same obligations, irrespective of which state or territory they engaged in transactions.
The ACL covers general standards of business conduct, prohibits unfair trading practices, regulates specific types of business-to-consumer transactions, provides basic consumer guarantees for goods and services , and regulates the safety of consumer products and product-related services.
The ACL offers consumer protections in the areas of:
- unfair contract terms, covering standard form consumer contracts;
- consumer rights when buying goods and services;
- product safety;
- unsolicited consumer agreements covering door-to-door sales and telephone sales; and
- lay-by agreements.
Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate
Access Canberra (which encompasses Fair Trading) is responsible for enforcing the Australian Consumer Law in the ACT. Access Canberra assists and protects the community through the administration of consumer laws and the registration and compliance of businesses in specific industries. The main objective is to provide information to businesses and consumers to ensure they are informed and confident when trading or making purchases.
As well as assisting consumers, Access Canberra assists businesses to comply with their obligations and responsibilities under the relevant legislation that governs their industry, in order to reduce the likelihood of consumers experiencing difficulties.
The Financial Ombudsman Service fairly and independently resolves disputes between consumers, including some small businesses, and member financial services providers.
Their independent dispute resolution processes cover financial services disputes including banking, credit, loans, general insurance, life insurance, financial planning, investments, stock broking, managed funds and pooled superannuation trusts. We also cover estate planning, estate management and trustee services.
Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.