Unfair Terms & Misleading Conduct

Extensive legal remedies are available to investors, businesses and consumers under the Australian Consumer Law – you just have to know what they are

The Australian Consumer Law came into force in 2010 with some features only be extended to small businesses as recently as 2016.

The emergence of decided court cases dealing with the provisions in the ACL has been an exciting development in the legal landscape.

Be sure your lawyer has the expertise, depth of knowledge and in sight into these unique remedies that dramatically increase the power of your punch in commercial disputes.

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Unfair Terms & Misleading Conduct


The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) offers robust protection against corporate misconduct especially in relation to the supply of services and sale of goods. A wide range of relief is available including compensation and injunctions. In many cases the statutory prohibition against misleading/deceptive conduct; unfair terms and unconscionable conduct cannot be contracted out of or varied.

This means that regardless of the contractual position, a party may still be able to obtain relief against an offending corporation or supplier.

See also Customers and Suppliers


The ACL also contains statutory “guarantees” in relation to the supply of services and sale of goods. Services must be supplied “with due care and skill”.

The misleading/deceptive and unconscionable conduct provisions apply to all corporate conduct, not just in the supply of goods and services.

See also Customers and Suppliers


Consumers and small business (less than 20 employees) are also protected against unfair terms in “standard form” contracts for the supply of goods or services. A term may be “unfair” for many reasons including, if:

  • it would cause a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations arising under the contract; and
  • it is not reasonably necessary in order to protect the legitimate interests of the party who would be advantaged by the term; and
  • it would cause detriment (whether financial or otherwise) to a party if it were to be applied or relied on.

Contact us for a review of your contract terms if your are a supplier or – if you are a buyer of goods or services – for advice about whether you can challenge your supply terms.

See also Customers and Suppliers


If you are a business with any concerns regarding any of the following in the last 5 years:

  • office & business equipment supply/rental contracts
  • installment sales of real property
  • “cost plus” purchase of trading stock
  • rebates in contracts for supply of goods
  • “hire purchase” agreements
  • “print plan” contracts for office copiers/printers
  • exit obstacles & excessive terms (or termination notice periods) in service contracts; waste collection; security monitoring.

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