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Consumer Protection Laws

Discuss about the Business Law for Consumer Laws and its Protection.

It was during the 20th century, that the need for the protection of consumers had turn out to be progressively more essential as a numerous number of goods and services which were accessible had developed radically.  Also, as per the need of the rules of the common law principles which had been there to control the area of agreements and tort laws for about more than a decade. Such laws also have proposed certain laws for the security of the customers.

The lawful State and federal regulations in this area has also been approved as a result all the consumers were well confined next to inequitable trade practices and defective products & services. Customers also safeguard them by being conscious of their own privileges and they look for a suggestion before making a large dealing.

The lawful system grants various organizations which could assist a number of consumers if an issue takes place. Such system also controls the actions of those individuals who supply a variety of products and services in an attempt to avert different kinds of disputes.

In regulatory jurisdictions, Consumer protection could be defined as a group of laws and organizations which was designed to guarantee the privileges to the consumers. It also helps in proving fair dealing, and proper data while transacting in a market place (Australian Consumer Law, 2017).

So, certain laws have been considered in order to prevent the trades which employ in deception or specific unfair practices from gaining a benefit over different participants. They could also grant extra security for those individuals who were most susceptible in society.

There has been not even a single common law meaning of a consumer. Normally, a consumer could be defined as an individual who brings a good or service for confidential utilization. There have been a number of different laws in relation to consumers but they vary in the manner in which they define a consumer.

Certain laws such as small trades which obtain goods for their trade, while other laws debar these. The TPA defined a consumer as one of the most commonly utilized word like: he has been an individual who attains goods of such a kind which usually were utilized for private, household purpose ' (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, 2017).

Consumer Protection laws as a result was regarded as a form of government rule which has an objective to safeguard the privileges of consumers. And security of the consumers was connected to the belief of privileges of the consumers, and to the establishment of consumer corporations. Formation of such organizations would assist consumers make better preferences in the marketplace and get assistance with the complaints of different consumers (Australian Consumer Law, 2017).

Enactment of Laws in Australia

Such laws were designed and established to be an area of law which regulates the associations of private laws among the individual consumers and the trades which sells those products and services (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, 2017).

Enactment of such laws was basically a way of preventing a fraud and scam from service and sales agreements, and many more which may lead to bankruptcy.

In Australia, the consequent organization which was made to protect individuals was the individual State Consumer Affairs agencies or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have a liability for protection of consumers rules of monetary services and goods. Though, in observance it does so in the course of a confidentially running EDR scheme like the Financial Ombudsman Service (Australia).


As a result of widespread discussions of the government and examination on the part of obtainable lawmaking structure, the Australian Consumer law (ACL) came into being. This appraisal was carried out with an observation among the Australian jurisdictions to develop regularity and steadiness. It was also examined to guarantee that all the consumers were sufficiently secured while entering into a contract of a trade for the supply of a better products or services (Australian Government Solicitor, 2011).

Specifically, the primary aims of the ACL were to:

  • Initiate innovative civil financial punishments for violation of some consumer protection sections;
  • Forbid all the unreasonable terms of an agreement in ordinary form of consumer agreements;
  • Initiate for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) certain fresh enforcement authorities (Australian Government, 2016).

So, this essay has been proposed to grant a concise summary of the key modifications and new ideas of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) by substituting the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) ('the TPA'). It includes the history of such substitution with the detail explanation of customer protection and their need in society. It also briefs out the current consumer protection laws in the state with the remedies of the dissatisfied goods and services (Casey, 2011).

This law relating to the protection of the rights of consumers was initially recognized by a contract of the Council of Government of Australia.

The sections of the ACL generally imitate such sections which were formerly manage to paid off by the TPA, even though certain supplementary safeguards were being added. As a result it could be stated that the ACL also usually imitates a variety of the sections in relation to the consumer safety of the consumers of the fair trading regulation which prevails in all of the states and territories of the nation.

The Trade Practices Amendment, 2010 (Cth) was then passed by the stated as a consequence of which it was regarded as the first of two Acts which assisted in implementing the new Australian Consumer Law. On 17 March 2010, this Act then got a formal approval for the implementation by the Commonwealth Parliament. The Trade Practices Amendment 2010 (Cth)  Bill No. 2 was followed after this act on 24 June 2010.

Safeguards for Consumers under ACL


Similarly, on 1 January 2011 when the above mentioned amendments came into being then the Act of Trade Practices finally modified and substituted its forename to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). As a result, the new Australian Consumer Law came into being for providing better protection to the consumers against any deceptive act (Hobart Community Legal Serviced Inc, 2017).

By the enactment of the two amended laws along with the passageway of State and Territory laws which were applicable to the ACL. The novel Trade Practices Regulations transformed the formerly conflicting Commonwealth, State and Territory consumer laws which were prevailing in Australia from a long time (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission,  2014).

The ACL sets out some privileges of consumers, standards for goods & services and grants punishments for any contravention. Safeguards which were granted to the consumers under the law include:

  • Guarantee that goods sold out would communicate with the explanation of those products and be fit for their revealed aim;
  • Entailing that products sold were of satisfactory quality, protected and free of flaws; and
  • Guarantees that services provided were with due care and skill.

The statutory liability for goods was mainly beard by producers, though suppliers along the supply chain could also be accountable in some situations. So, the meaning of "manufacturer" under ACL was rather wide, including those who apply their brand name to the products.

There has been a well known precedent case in the growth of the common law, which renowned the principle that manufacturers of products have an obligation towards their consumers to offer them goods of a good quality.

The above mentioned principle was established in the case of Donoghue v Stephenson which emphasized and had a huge impact by making a very substantial change in the law of negligence. It has in reality might be said to be the foundation of the modem act of negligence.

One of the most important sections in the ACL was section18 which includes prevention against an individual, in trade, engaging in behavior that was deceptive or illusory or was likely to deceive or misinform. This could be violated without any evidence of aim to deceive.

So, in Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v TPG Internet Pty Ltd [2013] HCA 54, the significance of s 18 was confirmed in securing the interests of consumer by holding that so-called ‘headline’ ad may be deceptive despite the subsistence of a fine print proviso succeeding the depiction in the title declaration (Robertson & Berry, 2014).

The consumer law regime which prevails currently in Australian has been observed to be governed both at the federal and state levels.

At the federal level, consumer law was administrated by the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA). Consumer protection sections were incorporated in schedule 2 of the CCA, which was also defined as ACL. This regime was synchronized by the ACCC (Consumer Action Law Centre, 2015).

Precedent cases and significance

The state and territory regime on the other hand, has been modified from the ACL and was usually defined as the Fair Trading regulations of each state and country. The state rules were synchronized by the pertinent agencies for the safety of customers in each state and territory (Fletcher Law, 2013).  


An individual could be assisted in understanding his or her privileges and responsibilities under the ACL, including with respect to: 

  • Misleading or deceptive conduct: the ACL includes a stringent prevention against any form of confusing or illusory behavior, whether by a constructive act or abstaining from doing a work, which was measured to arise in the course of business. For the prevention to be pertinent an individual must have been appealing ‘in a business’ at the time the behavior was protested of (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, 2017).
  • Unconscionable conduct: Trades have been forbidden from engaging in unconscionable act which was conducted against consumers and other trades. The ACL recognizes a list of factors that the tribunals may believe when shaping whether a trade has affianced in unconscionable behavior or not. In the recent well known case of Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Lux Distributors Pty Ltd [2013] FCAFC 90 provided the definition of what constitutes a unconscionable conduct briefly (Black & Harrison, 2016).
  • fake or deceptive declarations: Trades must guarantee that declarations made by an individual who represent the trade, such as declarations was made to publicize or endorse the trade to clientele, were not in any manner be fake or ambiguous (Consumer and Business Services, 2017).

Similarly, if a consumer was seen to be dissatisfied with a product or service then there has been a way in which he could get a relief through the system of court or outside court settlement. Section 18 has been regarded as a catchy section which recognizes that a norm of conduct as it grants that an organization shall not employ in a behavior that was ambiguous or illusory or likely to deceive or misinform. It does not create a liability (Burrows, 2014).

Whether a particular conduct of an individual was misleading or not was ultimately a matter for the court to decided and the test was a objective one.

In Taco Company of Australia Inc v Taco Bell Pty Ltd (1982) it was specifically concluded that the “conduct” of an individual in certain situations could be regarded as deception and unconscionable but it:

  • Must guide, or
  • Be capable of leading an individual into an erroneous situation. 

So it could be concluded as per the above mentioned data that the Australian Consumer Law be regarded as a symbol of a chance for a new approach which was adopted like the consumer policy. And it helps in depicting on the widest variety of consumer policy, enforcement experience and knowledge.

It has been observed and reviewed that people and governments both could bring in a dependable approach in regard to consumer law and policy. As such policy or laws would then enable all consumers of the state to get pleasure from the profits of reliable privileges anywhere they may be. And also it would permit all the trades of the state to get hold of a better competence through a single and simplified state law.

In this manner, it would improve the interests of all residents of the state. And the upcoming appraisal of ACL would be a chance to close the cracks in the laws for the security of the clients that permit these unjust trade forms to flourish. The opening of an innovative set of unreasonable business would be an important step. A universal unreasonable practice section would help customers and the world at large by humanizing customer safety, escalating customer assurance and expounding the existing laws.

References

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. (2014). Consumer product safety online. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Consumer%20product%20safety%20online.pdf

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. (2017). Advertising and selling guide. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.accc.gov.au/accc-book/printer-friendly/29527

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. (2017). Consumer rights & guarantees. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. (2017). The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s accountability framework for investigations. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/ACCC's%20accountablility%20framework%20for%20investigations.pdf

Australian Consumer Law. (2017). An Introduction to the Australian Consumer Law. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://consumerlaw.gov.au/consumer-policy-in-australia/resources/an-introduction-to-the-australian-consumer-law/

Australian Consumer Law. (2017). Consumer law. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://consumerlaw.gov.au/

Australian Government Solicitor. (2011). Australian Consumer Law. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.ags.gov.au/publications/fact-sheets/fact_sheet_no_12.pdf

Australian Government. (2016). Australian Consumer Law and your business. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.business.gov.au/info/run/fair-trading/australian-consumer-law-and-your-business

Black, S. & Harrison, J. (2016). Australia: Australian Consumer Law and the Volkswagen diesel episode. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/472984/Product+Liability+Safety/Australian+Consumer+Law+and+the+Volkswagen+diesel+episode

Burrows, M. (2014). Misleading and deceptive conduct in business dealings. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.dundaslawyers.com.au/misleading-and-deceptive-conduct-in-business-dealings/

Casey, L. (2011). Australia: Australian Consumer Law changes – Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/126518/Consumer+Law/Australian+Consumer+Law+changes+Competition+and+Consumer+Act+2010

Consumer Action Law Centre. (2015). Discussion Paper: Unfair trading and Australia's consumer protection laws. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://consumeraction.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Unfair-Trading-Consumer-Action-2015-Online.pdf

Consumer and Business Services. (2017). About Australian Consumer Law. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/consumers/australian-consumer-law/about-australian-consumer-law/

Fletcher Law. (2013). Consumer Law. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://fletcherlaw.com.au/service/competition-and-consumer-law/

Hobart Community Legal Serviced Inc. (2017). Misleading or Deceptive Conduct under the ACL. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.hobartlegal.org.au/tasmanian-law-handbook/consumers-money-and-debts/australian-consumer-law/misleading-or-deceptive

Robertson, I. & Berry, S. (2014). Australia: ACCC to pursue companies that breach consumer laws. Retrieved on 31st January’ 2017 from: https://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/291660/Consumer+Trading+Unfair+Trading/ACCC+to+pursue+companies+that+breach+consumer+laws

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[Accessed 17 July 2024].

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