Reforming statutory implied conditions and warranties

On 30 October 2009, the CCAAC presented its report Consumer rights: Reforming statutory implied conditions and warranties.

Clarity and awareness of the law, combined with clear and effective methods for redress, are fundamental attributes in the law, and have been identified as being imperative in addressing the issues faced by consumers,  retailers and manufacturers. This report considers how these issues can be addressed to protect and enhance the wellbeing of consumers now and into the future.

Review status

This review is closed.

Terms of reference

In its 2008 Review of Australia’s Consumer Policy Framework the Productivity Commission (PC) recommended that the adequacy of existing legislation related to implied conditions and warranties (implied terms) should be examined as part of the development of the new national generic consumer law.

In 2008, the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs (MCCA) decided that the Australian Government would initiate a review of the relevant provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and state and territory fair trading and goods legislation with the aim of developing clear codified law to be applied nationally and, further, that the review should include a consideration of ‘lemon laws’.

On 12 March 2009, the then Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, announced a review of the Australian law on implied terms by the Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council (CCAAC).

CCAAC, under its terms of reference, will examine the existing laws on implied terms in the Trade Practices Act 1974 and state and territory fair trading and goods legislation and, in particular, consider:

  • the adequacy of the current laws on implied terms;
  • the need for any amendments to the current laws on implied terms and, if so, how those amendments would improve existing laws and better empower regulators to ensure compliance with those laws;
  • the need for ‘lemon laws’ in Australia to protect consumers who purchase goods that repeatedly fail to meet expected standards of performance and quality;
  • the existence of extended warranties in the market place and their interaction with laws on implied terms; and
  • other means for improving the operation of existing statutory conditions and warranties in Australia.

In conducting the review, CCAAC is to:

  • perform a review of existing Australian literature, including conclusions and recommendations made in relevant Australian reviews;
  • consider relevant international research and models for implied terms adopted in other countries;
  • have regard to the rights and obligations of consumers and businesses under contracts for the sale of goods and services and, in particular, those contracts entered into on the internet; and
  • have regard to the intended objectives of the new national consumer law, which was agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 2 October 2008.

Downloads

CCAAC Final Report – Consumer rights: Reforming statutory implied conditions and warranties