As previously reported,1 the Trade Practices Amendment (Australian Consumer Law) Bill 2009 (Cth) (Bill) is awaiting Royal Assent. Amongst other things, the Bill prohibits the use of unfair terms in standard form consumer contracts. We understand that the unfair contract terms provisions of the Bill will commence operation on 1 July 2010.

Today, the ACCC released a draft guidance note setting out its interpretation of the unfair contract terms provisions. The guidance note explains:

  1. the sorts of contracts the unfair contract terms prohibitions will apply to  
  2. the sorts of terms which the ACCC and ASIC may consider to be unfair  
  3. the effect of a contract which includes unfair terms, and  
  4. who will enforce the unfair contract terms prohibitions.  

Further details of the draft guidance note can be found on the ACCC website.2

Submissions

The ACCC is seeking comments on the draft guidance note. In particular, the ACCC is seeking comments on:

  1. whether the draft guidance note clearly outlines the obligations imposed on businesses by the new laws  
  2. what types of information would better assist stakeholders understand the requirements imposed on businesses by the laws, and  
  3. what additional information would assist stakeholders to understand the new laws.  

Submissions must be received by the ACCC no later than 12 April 2010.