In the first case of its kind in Australia, on 30 July this year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was successful in convincing the Federal Court of Australia to declare void several standard terms of internet service provider ByteCard under the provisions of Australian consumer law legislation. The relevant provisions are in essence equivalent to the "unfair contract terms" provision in the New Zealand Consumer Law Reform Bill.

The offending terms provided that:

  • ByteCard could unilaterally vary prices without giving customers a right to terminate
  • ByteCard could terminate at any time without cause and
  • ByteCard customers had to indemnify ByteCard for losses in any circumstances - even in circumstances where the losses were caused by ByteCard.

As discussed in Buddle Findlay's July 2013 Business Law Reform update, a new Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to the New Zealand Consumer Law Reform Bill has been released (SOP 273 – replacing SOP 207 released in April). The Bill could become law by the end of the year.