Protecting businesses and consumers from unfair commercial practices

closed
Submissions closed: 25 February 2019, 9am

We are considering whether there is a need for additional protections for businesses and consumers against unfair commercial practices.

About the review

We are considering whether there is a need for additional protections for businesses and consumers against unfair commercial practices.

What is ‘unfair’ is subjective. However, it can broadly be grouped into 2 categories:

  • unfair contracts – this may include contract terms which shift risk from one party to another, make it difficult for a party to terminate a contract, or are otherwise very one-sided
  • unfair conduct outside of the terms of a contract itself – this may include the use of pressure tactics, deceptive conduct, or the way a contract is enforced.

While there are already a range of protections against unfair commercial practices contained in legislation such as the Fair Trading Act 1986 and the Commerce Act 1986, we want to test if there are any gaps in existing legislation.

We are considering options to:

  • introduce a prohibition against unconscionable, oppressive, or unfair conduct
  • extend the existing protections against unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contract terms to also protect businesses.

Submissions

MBIE received a total of 44 submissions on the matters raised in the discussion paper. These represent the views of a range of businesses, industry organisations, law firms, and other parties. These submissions are being carefully considered as part of the policy development process.

Five submissions have not been published at the request of the submitters. Some redactions have been made to other submissions to protect the privacy of individuals.

Last updated: 18 April 2019