Australian Consumer Law

Emerging business models and the law

The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is a national law governing consumer protection. The ACL is administered and enforced jointly by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and NSW Fair Trading, along with other state and territory consumer law regulators. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) governs consumer protection in the financial sector. 

Information about the effectiveness of the ACL can be found here: https://consumerlaw.gov.au/australian-consumer-law/year-review

Since the law’s commencement in 2011, the growth of Collaborative Economy businesses has presented new challenges for the ACL. In a report by Deloitte Access Economics commissioned by the ACCC, it was stated that Collaborative Economy operations may not always fully comply with existing laws.

The Collaborative Economy is subject to the ACL

While the Collaborative Economy is subject to the ACL, there are some questions surrounding the level of activity that could be considered to be undertaken ‘in trade or commerce’, which is a requirement of the current law. There are also some questions surrounding whether platform operators, which are commonly a third party to a transaction, are subject to misleading and deceptive conduct provisions because of the facilitative role they play.

More information on the sharing economy as it relates to the Australian Consumer Law is available here