Australian Consumer Law and your business

If you run a business in Australia, you'll be affected by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). On 1 January 2011, the national Australian Consumer Law (ACL) came into effect.

Whether you work with customers, businesses, provide services or sell goods, it's important to know your rights and obligations and how the consumer laws affect your business.

What is the ACL?

The ACL replaced 17 existing federal, state and territory consumer laws, including:

  • standards of business conduct
  • unfair contract laws
  • harmful business practices
  • the regulation of specific types of business-to-consumer transactions
  • basic consumer rights for goods and services
  • the regulation of consumer product safety.

The laws are administered and enforced jointly by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the State and Territory consumer protection agencies.

Here are some examples of the ACL in action:

  • If your customers ask for a bill, you must provide it free of charge.
  • If you sell goods or services worth more than $75 (excluding GST), you must give your customer a bill.
  • If you give receipts, they must identify you (the supplier), your ABN and/or ACN (if any), what was supplied, the date of supply and the price.
  • If there is a problem with your good or service, your customer has the right to ask you for compensation. This compensation can include a full refund, even if you have signs saying "no refunds".

Where can I find more information about the ACL?

As a small business owner, it can be difficult to find the time to understand all the laws that relate to your business or industry. The ACCC has made a number of short videos to help you understand what the ACL means for your business.

The ACCC's videos include information about:

  • introduction to the ACL
  • consumer guarantees
  • providing services under the ACL
  • selling goods under the ACL.

The Small business self assessment checklist can help you understand how the Australian Consumer Law affects your business.

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