The proposed reforms were delivered by the Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) to the Australian Consumer Law Review (ACL) last April
In total, CAANZ identified 19 legislative proposals, non-legislative actions and seven priority areas for further investigation.
Legislative proposals include:
- Rights to refunds and replacements without the need to prove a major ‘failure’;
- Clarify that multiple non-major failures can amount to a major failure;
- Enhanced disclosure in relation to extended warranties including a cooling-off period on 10 working days which becomes unlimited if disclosure requirements are not met;
- Development of specific guidance on ‘unsafe’ and ‘reasonable durability’;
- Extending the ACL (and ASIC Act) unconscionable conduct protections to publicly listed companies;
- Enhance price transparency in online shopping by requiring that any additional fees or charges are included in the headline price;
- Consumer guarantees to apply to all online auctions;
- Increasing the $40,000 threshold in the definition of ‘consumer’ to $100,000;
- Reducing the evidentiary burden on consumers to prove claims for breaches of consumer guarantees;
- Increasing the maximum financial penalties under the ACL for companies ($10 million or greater) and individuals $500,00.
The staged implementation process involves legislative reforms that are well developed and do not require regulatory assessment, legislative proposals requiring further development and non-legislative actions that ACL regulators and consumer affairs agencies can develop and implement in the short term.
The major challenge for AADA is to engage with the regulators to ensure fair and reasonable outcomes particularly in relation to legislative proposals requiring further development.
These proposals will require careful consideration to ensure there are no unintended consequences including protection for consumers and protection for dealers and manufacturers from a consumer who promulgates a claim without merit.
You can rest assured that we will do our best to protect the interests of dealers.
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Automotive Dealer Association Ltd