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, and are seeking your feedback.

About the consultation

We are considering whether there is a need for additional protections for businesses and consumers against unfair commercial practices, and we are seeking your feedback.

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.

If gaps in existing legislation are identified, the discussion document considers 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

Related document

You can find more information in the Cabinet Paper: Unfair commercial practices - Release of discussion document.

Cabinet Paper: Unfair commercial practices - Release of discussion document [PDF, 59 KB].