Do you deal with consumers? Do you use standard terms and conditions? Then you’d better read this.

The ACCC has just started its first prosecution solely for unfair contract terms. In the crosshairs is an ISP called ByteCard (aka Netspeed).

It’s in trouble for T&Cs permitting unilateral price variations, granting broad indemnities in its favour, and termination whenever it likes, without reason.

Here’s the lowdown.

  1. The ACCC is done with friendly approaches. Enforcement of the unfair contract terms rules is now a priority. If you haven’t reviewed your standard form T&Cs yet, then get on to it now.
  2. The types of clauses that the ACCC is targeting in this case aren’t peculiar to ISPs. The common thread to the terms in question is that they are wide reaching, vague, and inconsistent with other terms in the T&Cs.
  3. The commencement of proceedings alone can have a bad impact on your business reputation. And a declaration that your terms are unfair and void could lead to affected customers seeking damages. The only good news is that pecuniary penalties aren’t available for breaches of the unfair contract terms rules.