On 1 January 2011, all Australian Governments implemented a single, national consumer protection and fair trading law.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) brought in major change for Queensland business and consumers. The new law applies to all sectors of the economy and to all Australian consumers and businesses.
The ACL was designed to:
- improve consumer wellbeing through consumer empowerment and protection
- foster competition
- reduce costs to business, as they will only need to comply with a single, national fair trading law, regardless of where they are located in Australia
- enable the confident participation of consumers in markets in which both consumers and businesses trade fairly.
The ACL introduced new protections for consumers, including:
- consumer guarantees, which are a comprehensive set of rights and remedies regarding the supply of goods and services
- the ability to ask a court to remove unfair terms in standard form consumer contracts
- increased protection from unfair and unethical business practices.
A national product safety regime was also introduced as part of the ACL.
For more information about the major elements of the law, which apply from 1 January 2011 onwards, see:
- consumer guarantees
- sales practices
- avoiding unfair business practices
- product safety
- unfair contract terms.
For more information, you can also visit the Australian Consumer Law website.
For goods and services purchased on or before 31 December 2010, your consumer rights are still protected by the previous laws - the Commonwealth Trade Practices Act 1974 and the Queensland Fair Trading Act 1989.
A point-of-sale sign that clearly identifies and explains consumer refunds rights is available for download. You can order the sign as an A4 poster, a sticker or a tent card for your counter. Order one today by calling the Office of Fair Trading on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or email OFTComms@justice.qld.gov.au.
Several guides for businesses are available. These are:
- The Australian Consumer Law: An introduction
- Consumer guarantees: A guide for businesses and legal practitioners
- Sales practices: A guide for businesses and legal practitioners
- Avoiding unfair business practices: A guide for businesses and legal practitioners
- Product safety: A guide for businesses and legal practitioners
- Compliance and enforcement: How regulators enforce the Australian Consumer Law
- The Australian Consumer Law: A Guide to Provisions
- A guide to the unfair contract terms law
A series of videos on the Australian Consumer Law are available from our YouTube channel. The videos cover consumer guarantees, warranties, unfair contract terms, unsolicited consumer agreements and product safety. Click here to watch the videos.
A fair trading expert can come to your organisation or association and conduct a presentation. To request a presentation, email our Community and Stakeholder Engagement team.
In early 2011, we ran a number of information sessions around Queensland on the ACL. The following are a collection of questions and answers from these sessions. The answers are intended to explain the Australian Consumer Law in simple language and should not be used as a substitute for the legislation.
- Consumer guarantees
- Sales practices (pricing and lay-bys)
- Unsolicited consumer agreements
- Unfair contract terms
- ACL definitions, legislation and product safety reporting
Last reviewed 02/05/2013