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Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) has released its interim report for the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) Review for stakeholder consultation, which includes the identification of a number of potential options for reform. Submissions close on Friday 9 December 2016.

Based on our members’ previous feedback at the issues paper stage, we are proposing to focus on issues around:

  • who is protected under the ACL and exemptions under the ACL e.g. definition of “consumer”;
  • consumer guarantees including: ‘acceptable quality’ for goods e.g. durability; lack of clarity about ‘major failures’ and industry-specific concerns e.g. generic vs industry-specific approaches to compliance and enforcement; and disclosure of rights under the ACL e.g. mandatory notice for warranties against defects;
  • product safety including: performance-based approach to compliance with standards; mandatory reporting requirements; product bans and recalls; and public information about unsafe products;
  • unsolicited consumer agreements with a particular focus on cooling off periods;
  • barriers to accessing information and access to consumer transaction data; and
  • Online purchases including pricing and safety information and consumer guarantees.

The Interim Report also covers other areas that may be of interest to members, including:

  • Fundraising activities and the ACL;
  • Interaction between the ACL and ASIC Act;
  • Unconscionable conduct and unfair trading;
  • Unfair contract terms;
  • Access to remedies for private litigants; and
  • Penalties and remedies.

The application of the ACL affects not only the consumer, but a broad range of industries and includes businesses of all sizes. In preparing our last submission to the issues paper for the ACL Review, we had a good representation of comments from members involved in manufacturing, distribution and servicing of consumer electronics and home appliances, the provision of digital technology services and confectionery manufacturing.

We are preparing a submission to the Government on the proposals and are keen to hear from members about your views.

Please contact Ai Group adviser Charles Hoang, Tel: 02 9466 5462, to provide your input.