The Sharing Economy: Know Your Rights, Know the Rules

There’s a good chance you’ve heard of platforms like Uber and Airbnb. These platforms and many others are part of the sharing economy.

While sharing economy platforms can provide a new and convenient experience for purchasing and hiring goods or services, questions around consumer and trader protection often come with the new territory.

If you hire or buy goods and services through an online marketplace or sharing economy platform, you are protected by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) if things go wrong, in the same way as you would be if you were to buy in store.

If things do go wrong, you can follow these steps to help resolve the issue:

  • speak to the seller or service provider
  • contact the platform through their internal dispute resolution process, if they have one
  • write a factual customer review and rate the trader on the platform
  • lodge a complaint with the consumer affairs agency in your state or territory.

Traders are also protected by the ACL and have all the same rights and obligations to consumers, like guaranteeing the services and goods they provide comply with consumer law.

With half the population in Australia using or thinking about using a sharing economy platform, it is important everyone plays their part to make sharing fair.

Whether you are the trader or consumer in the sharing economy, it is important to remember that your standard rights and responsibilities still apply under Australian Consumer Law.

Check out these videos that include information on the ACL and have tips on how to share fair in the sharing economy.

Further information on your rights and responsibilities in the sharing economy is available on the Australian Consumer Law website.