Consumer Groups Advocate for Change as Consultations Open on Unfair Trading Practices
Almost a year after state and territory consumer ministers agreed to open consultation on options to address the gap in Australian Consumer Law (ACL) around unfair trading practices, Treasury has released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS) and given stakeholders 91 days to respond starting 31st August and ending 29th November 2023.
Broadly, the policy options as laid out by the CRIS are:
Status quo – changing nothing about the current system.
Amend statutory unconscionable conduct – retaining most of the current law but extending unconscionable conduct to include unfair conduct.
Introduce a general prohibition on unfair trading practices – the same approach as the United States of America.
Introduce a combination of general and specific prohibitions on unfair trading practices – the approach of the European Union, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
Consumer groups have overwhelmingly welcomed the move with a press release from CPRC (Consumer Policy Research Centre) featuring CALC (Consumer Action Law Centre), CHOICE, FCA (Financial Counselling Australia) and FRLC (Financial Rights Legal Centre) released the day of the announcement. From CPRC’s press release: