Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is encouraging NSW consumers, businesses and other interested parties to contribute to the current review of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The review of the ACL formally commenced on 31 March 2016 with the release of an Issues Paper. Submissions are due by 27 May 2016.

Mr Stowe encouraged everyone to have their say on whether the law is working effectively and what can be done to improve it.

“This law has relevance for all,” he said. “The Australian Consumer Law touches the lives of all citizens and it is important everyone has the opportunity to help shape the best possible consumer laws.”

For a copy of the issues paper and to have your say go to:

Mr Stowe said the recently released Australian Consumer and Business Survey would also help guide reform of the ACL.

The Australian Consumer and Business Survey was conducted in 2010-11 shortly before the Australian Consumer Law came into effect. The current survey, of 5,408 consumers and 1,210 businesses, has been conducted to assess the impact of the ACL.

It is estimated the cost to consumers of dealing with problems is $16.31 billion annually, down from $16.36 billion in 2011.

More consumers are taking action to resolve their problems and there has been an increase in direct costs incurred by consumers when doing this, up from an average annual spend per person of $221 in 2011 to $299 in 2015.

The survey shows improvement in consumers’ views about the efficacy of the laws and government intervention and a reduction in the incidence of problems.

However it found consumer confidence that businesses will do the right thing and not try and mislead or cheat them, has declined.

Businesses respondents were positive about the efforts of regulators to ensure compliance and mediate disputes. Businesses were more likely to believe the ACL has had a positive impact on business and consumer understanding of their rights and responsibilities.

Mr Stowe said the survey also showed the need for regulators to continue their work to inform and educate groups with reduced awareness about consumer protections, including young people, women, regional consumers and people who speak a language other than English at home.

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