Questions On Australian Consumer Law

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1 Summary
Australian Consumer Law (‘ACL’) currently protects individual consumers from unfair terms in standard form contracts but this protection does not extend to small business. There have been instances where, big businesses have subjected small businesses to unfair terms in pre-prepared, standard form contracts on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis. This scenario leaves the small business vulnerable because they may lack the sufficient resources to effectively navigate or negotiate against these terms. Occasionally, these contracts containing unfair terms lead to an increase in the cost of conducting business which undermines trust – a vital aspect of business relationships. It is evident that legislative reforms are necessary to help
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If the term declared as ‘unfair’ is severable, the remainder of the contract continues to bind parties.

A contract term is ‘unfair’ if it would cause a significant imbalance to the parties’ rights in the transaction, if it is not reasonably necessary to protect the interests of the party relying on it, and if the term was applied or relied on, it would cause detriment to one of the parties. Examples of UCTs include terms that: allow one party to unilaterally vary the terms of a contract, or unilaterally decide whether to renew or terminate the contract; allow one party to unilaterally interpret the contract, including whether or not the contract has been breached; or limit one party’s right to sue the other.

2 Introduction
The Council of Small Business of Australia (‘COSBOA’) was established in 1979 and incorporated in 1985. COSBOA aims to provide strong advocacy on small business issues and our goals are to: promote and support the development of small business in Australia; advocate for policy change and regulatory reform in order to advance the interests of small business in Australia and foster an increased awareness and understanding of the role of small business in Australia. We endeavour to be
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