With Federal Parliament already considering increases to the maximum pecuniary penalties for non-compliance with certain sections of the Australia Consumer Law (ACL) (see our article here), a Bill to implement other changes to ACL was introduced into Parliament on 28 March.
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Australian Consumer Law Review) Bill 2018 (Cth) proposes amendments to the ACL to clarify and strengthen a number of consumer protections relating to consumer guarantees, unsolicited consumer agreements, product safety, false billing, unconscionable conduct, component pricing and unfair contract terms, as recommended as part of the ACL Review and subsequently agreed by Fair Trading/Consumer Affairs Ministers. For details about the proposed amendments, see our previous article.
The Bill follows public consultation by Treasury in relation to the form of the exposure draft legislation. Interestingly, the Bill in its current form removes the proposed definition of “recall” and the increased penalties for failing to notify a voluntary recall as included in the exposure draft legislation. Neither the Second Reading Speech nor the Explanatory Memorandum comment on these omissions.
Parliament is expected to debate both Bills when it resumes in May.