Australian Consumer Law (ACL)

The Australian Consumer Law (formerly the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) prohibits conduct in trade or commerce that is misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive. If such conduct has caused you loss or damage (or you need some other form of discretionary relief) you may need to rely on the provisions of section 18 to obtain damages in accordance with section 236 or perhaps you will need to obtain one of the discretionary orders in section 237, 242 or 243).

Our Principal Solicitor has advised many clients in respect of their rights under the Australian Consumer Law which has a wide ranging application. For instance if a competitor business publishes information that is false, misleading and/or deceptive about your business then you could potentially seek an injunction to restrain then from publishing that false information. If you feel aggrieved by such a representation then give us a call to find out more.

Our firm is committed to handling your Australian Consumer Law matter with competence and trust whilst all the while remaining accessible to you as our client. With more than 10 years’ worth of experience in providing litigants in Sydney with legal advice and services in respect of misrepresentations, and misleading and deceptive conduct we should be able to answer most of your questions about your rights and how you may go about exercising them.

Sample Misleading or Deceptive Conduct Cases

  • If your employer represented to you as an employee, during the course of negotiations about your salary, that you will have the benefit of certain employment conditions where that was false;
  • When a vendor of a commercial property, in trade or commerce, represents to the purchaser that the property is zoned in a particular fashion when it is not so zoned;
  • When a lessor (or its agent) makes representations, in trade or commerce, about a lease that are false;
  • Representations made by the vendor, in a contract for the sale of a business, about the turnover that are incorrect and false

Important Quotes in Misleading Conduct Cases

"The words of s. 52 require the Court to consider the nature of the conduct of the corporation against which proceedings are brought and to decide whether that conduct was, within the meaning of that section, misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive. Those words are on any view tautologous. One meaning which the words "mislead" and "deceive" share in common is "to lead into error". If the word "deceptive" in s. 52 stood alone, it would be a question whether it was used in a bad sense, with a connotation of craft or overreaching, but "misleading" carries no such flavour, and the use of that word appears to render "deceptive" redundant. The words "likely to mislead or deceive", which were inserted by amendment in 1977, add little to the section; at most they make it clear that it is unnecessary to prove that the conduct in question actually deceived or misled anyone." - Parkdale Custom Built Furniture Pty Ltd v Puxu Pty Ltd [1982] HCA 44

Let Us Help You

  • exercise any rights you may have under the Trade Practices Act 1974 (prior to 1 January 2011) and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010;
  • deal with misleading or deceptive conduct in accordance with the relevant provisions (sections 18 to 19) and applicable remedies such as an action for damages in accordance with section 236;
  • understand and apply the unconscionable conduct provisions (sections 20 to 22);
  • deal with unfair terms sections 23 to 28 and use and employ the unfair practices provisions (sections 29 to 50);
  • take advantage of the consumer transactions provisions (sections 51 to 103) for goods i.e. title, acceptable quality, fitness for any disclosed purpose, compliance with description, compliance with sample or demonstration model, repairs and spare parts, express warranties and for services i.e. due care and skill, fitness for a particular purpose, reasonable time for supply;
  • Consider the utility of the provisions about consumer goods and related services (sections 104 to 133) and understand what the law says about manufacturers and safety defects (sections 138 to 150);
  • rescind contracts induced by misrepresentation;
  • seek damages or other relief for misleading conduct in trade or commerce;
  • understand the role of contributory fault;
  • appreciate that there is proportionate liability for apportionable claims

* This content does not purport to give legal advice. Readers must obtain their own legal advice, that applies to the particular circumstances of their case, before taking any action at all.