The dates about six weeks before July 1 and January 1 should be marked in every entrepreneur’s diary with a note saying “check for changes to laws”.
When a new law comes into effect, it’s generally on one of those two dates, and this year it’s no different. On January 1 the second tranche of the Government’s consumer laws come into effect, and businesses had better be ready.
The consumer laws are designed to do two things. Provide better protection to Australian consumers from unfair contracts, false and misleading claims and high-pressure selling techniques.
The latest regulations that come into effect on January 1, 2011, specifically cover issues such as consumer guarantees, warranties, rules around misleading and deceptive conduct and direct selling. Retailers, personal services businesses and party plan companies are among those affected.
Legal experts says businesses should be looking at the trading terms and specifically their warranty documentation to ensure they comply. And with financial penalties of up to $50,000 for a corporation for breaches, this is not something that you want to get wrong.
The websites of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Federal Government’s Australian Consumer Law are the best places to start, and industry bodies will also be able to tell you if your sector is affected.
But get expert legal advice if you feel you need to.
Get across this – today!