Fair trading laws

Australian Consumer Law

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is a single, national law covering consumer protection and fair trading. It applies nationally and in each state and territory. It applies to all Australian businesses.

Australian consumers have the same protections and expectations about business conduct wherever they are in Australia.

Similarly, businesses have the same obligations and responsibilities wherever they operate in Australia.

View the Australian Consumer Law quiz for small business on the website of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

How ACL legislation works

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL):

  • replaced a wide range of existing national and State and Territory consumer laws
  • is a schedule to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, which is the new name of the Trade Practices Act 1974
  • is applied as a law of the Australian Government - each state and territory also applies the ACL as a law of its respective jurisdiction, meaning that the same provisions apply across Australia
  • is enforced by all Australian courts and tribunals, including the courts and tribunals of the states and territories
  • is administered by the ACCC and each state and territory's consumer law agency.

What the ACL covers

The principal changes introduced by the ACL are:

  • a single set of definitions and provisions for trade practices
  • national law on unfair contract terms
  • a single set of provisions about unfair practices and unfair trading
  • national consumer guarantees provisions
  • national regime for unsolicited consumer agreements, which replace existing laws on door-to-door sales and other direct marketing
  • simple national rules for lay-by agreements
  • national product safety legislative regime
  • national provisions on information standards that apply to services as well as goods.

Specific industry legislation

There is also South Australian legislation dealing with licensing and other matters that applies to specific industries.

View the relevant state legislation

Purchase copies of state legislation online

Or in person from:

Government Legislation Outlet
108 North Terrace
Adelaide SA 5000

Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm

Phone: 13 23 24

Your business approach to consumers

As a business operator you need to:

  • understand the basic law before starting to trade
  • put policies and procedures in place that are consistent with the law
  • be prepared to seek legal advice where necessary.

The best way to avoid problems is to follow ethical business practices that do not mislead or disadvantage your consumers and ensure you comply with all relevant legislation.

The way you and your employees deal with customers is critical to all aspects of your relationship with them. The way you deliver your information, service them face-to-face and deal with after-sales issues all impact on your success and reputation.

Related information

Other websites

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Page last updated 21 December 2016

Provided by:
Department of State Development
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