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The Australian Consumer Law (the “ACL”) is a national law aiming to protect consumer rights in transactions and commercial dealings. It hosts both general and specific protections depending on the scale of the parties and the nature of the transaction.


Am I a consumer? 

A person is a ‘consumer’ if they acquire goods or services priced at less than $40,000. A person is also a ‘consumer’ if they acquire goods or services that are ‘of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use or consumption’ or purchase goods that consisted of a vehicle or trailer acquired for use principally in the transport of goods on public roads.


General protection nature of consumer law 

There is protection afforded by the Australian Consumer Law for consumers and parties who deal in trade and commerce which include:

  • a general ban on misleading and deceptive conduct in trade or commerce
  • a general ban on unconscionable conduct in trade or commerce
  • specific bans on unconscionable conduct such as false or misleading representation, offering rebates, misleading conduct relating to employment, bait advertisement, and
  • for particular consumer or small business contacts, voidable unfair terms.

All protections operate differently depending on the size and calibre of the party involved and the type of transaction or dealing made.


Avenue of enforcement and remedies 

The ACL creates national enforcement powers to be used by all consumer law regulators, including civil penalties and remedies for breaches of the ACL. Not all remedies require a breach to be taken to court. For example, under the ACL, consumers can seek a refund, replacement, or repairs if a supplier fails to satisfy its obligations concerning consumer guarantees.


Consumer guarantee 

When purchasing products and services, there are automatic guarantees as to their ability to work and fitness for intended purpose. Business entities must guarantee products and services they sell, hire or lease for under $100,000 or over $100,000 if they are normally bought for personal or household use. In circumstances where the products or services do not fulfil their guarantees, you may have the right to ask a business for your preference of a free repair, replacement, or refund, regardless of whether you have bought an insurance package along with your transaction or not.  


Are you purchasing a product?

Generally, Products must be of acceptable quality, be safe, lasting, with no faults, look acceptable and do all the things someone would normally expect them to do. 


Are you purchasing a service?

Generally, Services must be provided with acceptable care and skill or technical knowledge and taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage.


If you feel like your consumer rights have been infringed upon or if you need legal advice on your consumers rights, Straits Lawyers are here to help. We are now offering online services in both English and Chinese. Simply book an online consultation with us via this link:


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Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice and H&O Lawyers will not be legally responsible for any actions you take based on this article.