Consumer Rights Topics

Australian Consumer Law

February 2009 Australian Consumer Law (ACL) established a single, national consumer law: the Australian Consumer Law.

March 2010 Australian Consumer Law was introduced Nationally guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services, which replaces existing laws on conditions and warranties.

January 2011 the Australian Consumer Law will be fully implemented.

We are now trying to determine what these new consumer laws mean for Australians and what extra protection we receive under these newly consolidated laws.

In the past our collective consumer Law was governed by over 15 existing national and State and Territory consumer laws or Acts. These laws have now been consolidated across Australia so we are all protected under a single national law.

It is called the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and its planned to be a single, national law concerning consumer protection and fair trading common to each State and Territory.

The Government Department called the Productivity Commission estimated that this reform could provide benefits to the Australian community of between $1.5 billion and $4.5 billion a year.

That sounds great on paper and we hope that saving translates to real savings in our reality. We will follow the introduction of these laws and look act the impact on our everyday spending and rights.

They certainly have the potentially to provide some much needed clarity on some grey areas of consumer laws such misleading conduct, unfair contract terms and plain old unreasonable conduct.

The ACL creates a single set of statutory consumer guarantees to replace the existing system of implied conditions and warranties in the Commonwealth Trade Practises Act of 1974 that we are currently governed by.

Consumer Guarantees were effective as of March 2010.

We are all going to hear more about these "Consumer Guarantees". They should have some interesting implications when your latest gadget fails just after the warranty expires. According to these rules your request for repair under that expired warranty is stronger under this "Consumer Guarantees". We think this is going to get very interesting.

The ACL states a single set of statutory consumer guarantees to replace the confusing definitions of implied conditions and warranties.

According to the "The Australian Consumer Law - An introduction" paper released July 2010, among other points its states that when a consumer buys goods or services, the ACL provides that they will have guaranteed rights that:
- the supplier has the right to sell the goods;
- the goods are of acceptable quality;
- the goods match their description;
- the goods are fit for any purpose that the consumer makes known to the supplier;
- the repairs and spare parts are reasonably available;
- the services are carried out with reasonable care and skill; and
- the services are completed within a reasonable time.

More information about these changes is available on the ACCC website ( or from the ACCC Infocentre (1300 302 502).