New Bill to stamp out unfair commercial practices passes first reading

Published: 13 February 2020

Amendments to the Fair Trading Act 1986 were read for the first time in Parliament yesterday.

“The Fair Trading Amendment Bill provides new protections for businesses and consumers against unfair commercial practices,” says Jennie Kerr, Manager Competition and Consumer Policy at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Bill:

  • introduces a prohibition against unconscionable conduct
  • extends the current protections against unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts to also apply to business-to-business trading relationships with a value below $250,000 per year
  • strengthens consumers’ ability to require uninvited sellers to leave or not enter their premises, including through the use of ‘Do Not Knock’ stickers.

“Unfair commercial practices can include things such as unfair contract terms – for example terms which unduly shift risk from one party to another, make it difficult for one party to terminate a contract, allow one party to unilaterally vary the terms of a contract, or are otherwise very one-sided. They can also include unfair conduct outside of the terms of a contract itself, including pressure tactics to induce someone to enter into a contract, deceptive conduct, or enforcing a contract in a harsh way.”

The Bill will now be considered by the Economic Development, Science and Innovation select committee.

MBIE media contacts

Phone: 027 442 2141