The Australian Treasury recently reviewed the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and is seeking feedback from businesses and consumers to have their say on proposed reforms to clarify, simplify and modernise the consumer guarantee framework in the ACL.

This consultation process will close on 23 April 2018.

The ACL and the consumer guarantees

What is the ACL?

The ACL is a national consumer protection law which governs a number of matters such as consumer guarantees, prohibitions against misleading and deceptive conduct, sale practices and national product safety.

What are 'consumer guarantees'?

The ACL contains a number of minimum standards which apply when goods or services are supplied to consumers. These are known as 'consumer guarantees', and include guarantees as to acceptable quality and fitness for purpose.

These guarantees provide consumers with automatic statutory rights which are independent of, and additional to, any contractual arrangements with the consumer.

Proposed reforms to the ACL

In brief, there are five proposed reforms to the ACL regarding consumer guarantees to:

  • increase the threshold in the definition of "consumer" from $40,000 to $100,000;
  • clarify the consumer guarantee remedies so that a short period of time is specified (eg 30 days) during which consumers are entitled to refunds or replacements without needing to prove a major failure of a consumer guarantee;
  • clarify that multiple non-major failures of a consumer guarantee can amount to a major failure;
  • enhance disclosure requirements for extended warranties such as cooling-off rights or opt-in processes, oral disclosure and written disclosure; and
  • extend the consumer guarantees to goods purchased in online auctions or auctions generally.

For more information about each of the proposals and options, please see the Treasury consultation website for the 'Clarification, simplification and modernisation of the consumer guarantee framework'.

Have your say

Submissions about the proposed reforms can be made at this link: Make a submission or comment.

All submissions must be lodged by 23 April 2018.