Major changes to competition and consumer laws proposed by the Federal Government in 2021 could have a major affect on your business.
The proposed reforms will have the effect of strengthening consumer and small business protections whilst at at the same time creating more complex compliance obligations for business. The key proposals are:
Increases to Consumer Guarantee Thresholds
From 1 July 2021 the threshold for consumer guarantees applying to goods purchased for personal, domestic, or household use (or other products and services that cost less than $40,000), will increase to $100,000, providing additional protection for larger product and service transactions. This change will extend consumer guarantees to an increased number of business-to-business transactions.
Revised Code of Conduct for Franchising
The new code, expected to to take effect from 1 July, will increase the compliance obligations for franchisors by introducing:
- a new ‘Key Fact Sheet’;
- additional disclosure obligations;
- increased cooling off periods;
- changes to franchisee exits;
- new conciliation and arbitration provisions; and
- an increase in the maximum penalty for breaching the Code.
New Unfair Contract Terms
The risks associated with using unfair contract terms will be increased for businesses with up to 100 employees and annual turnovers of less than $10 million when the Federal Government introduces expanded protections and new penalty provisions in to Australian Consumer Law later in the year. We would advise clients to review and renew existing standard agreements in line with the new provisions.
Expanding Data Rights for Consumers
The Consumer Data Right (‘CDR’), already in-train in the banking and energy sectors, will continue to impact more businesses across more industry sectors as the CDR framework takes shape in 2021. The CDR will (a) provide consumers with new opportunities to utilise data to better inform their decision-making and (b) assist businesses to use consumer data to offer new and innovative products.