The ACL also regulates the following areas:
- bait advertising (s 35): a person must not trick customers by offering only a few items at a low price;
- offering gifts and prizes (s 32): a person who offers rebates, gifts, prizes or other free items in connection with the sale of goods or services must honour that The first step in agreeing to make a legally binding agreement. An offer must be accepted before there can be a legally enforceable contract. For example, a person can offer to sell their car for $5000 and a buyer can accept the offer and pay that purchase price.;
- wrongfully accepting payments (s 36): a person must not accept payment for goods or services if they do not intend to supply the goods or services, or know they cannot supply the goods or services, or cannot supply the goods or services in a timely manner;
- pyramid selling (ss 44–46): this is outlawed as a scheme, except where there is an exemption order because the goods or services supplied under the scheme bear a reasonable relationship to the payments made under the scheme;
- Legal responsibility, enforced by civil or criminal courts. for unsolicited goods and services (ss 41–42): in general, a person does not have to pay for unsolicited goods or services;
- unsolicited cards (s 39): A debt that does not have to be paid until some future time. Being allowed to pay later, in the future, for something you are getting now. or debit cards should only be sent to people if they have specifically requested them;
- asserting right to payment (s 40): a person must not assert a right to payment for unsolicited goods or services, or unauthorised entries or advertisements;
- multiple pricing (s 47): if a supplier displays multiple prices for goods at the same time, they must sell the goods for the lowest price or withdraw the goods from sale until the pricing is corrected;
- referral selling (s 49): inducing purchases by promising future commissions for subsequent sales is prohibited in certain circumstances; and
- harassment and coercion (s 50): a person must not harass or coerce another person in connection with a supply of goods or services (this provision has primarily been used in relation to Money that is owed by one person or business to another. collection).
A proof of transaction must be given to a Under the Australian Consumer Law, a person who buys goods or services for less than $40 000 or for personal or home use. for supplies of goods or services valued at or above $75 or, if below that value, on request. Also, an itemised bill must be provided to a consumer who has been supplied with services at their request (s 100). Tax invoices provided under the GST law meet the requirements of a proof of transaction under the ACL (s 101).
The ACL also contains the new consumer guarantees regime that provides rights to consumers when suppliers breach a range of consumer guarantees. For detailed discussion, see Chapter 7.3: Consumer guarantees.
Fair debt collection laws
In addition to the An order made by the Supreme Court of Victoria or the High Court of Australia prohibiting a body from acting outside its authority. See also jurisdiction; prerogative writ; ultra vires. against harassment and coercion in the ACL, additional fair debt collection provisions are in the ACL&FTA. These ban anyone collecting debt in Victoria from engaging in certain practices, including:
- entering or threatening to enter a private residence without lawful authority; using any threat, deception or Making a statement or doing something that is false, to try to get someone to do something they would not otherwise do, for example buy goods of poor quality. to obtain To agree to something being done, to approve an action or arrangement. See also informed consent. to enter a private residence; and refusing to leave a private residence or workplace when asked to do so;
- exposing or threatening to expose a person or a member of that person’s family to ridicule or intimidation;
- using a document that looks like an official document but is not;
- impersonating a government employee or A person who acts for someone else. They can make decisions, carry out tasks or make agreements for the other person. For example, if you ask someone to bid for you at an auction they will be acting as your agent.;
- attempting or threatening to possess any property to which they are not entitled (e.g. when collecting a debt, you must not say you are going to seize a home or other property that you cannot legally take);
- disclosing or threatening to disclose debt information, without the debtor’s consent, to any person without a legitimate interest in the information;
- making a false or misleading representation regarding the nature or extent of a debt, or the consequences of not paying a debt (e.g. falsely representing that a debt is a fine or other penalty imposed by law, or that a person has committed an A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious).);
- threatening to make a false or misleading credit report;
- contacting a person by a method that they have asked not to be used, unless there is no other means available (e.g. you must not contact a A person who owes a debt. at their workplace when they have asked to be contacted only at home, or directly when they have asked that all communications be handled by their lawyer or financial counsellor);
- contacting a person about a debt after they have advised in writing that no further communication should be made about that debt (this applies unless the debt collector contacts the debtor through an action issued by a An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. or VCAT or are threatening the debtor with court or VCAT action that the The person or organisation to whom a debtor owes a debt. intends to take. This provision is helpful for those without assets and of a low income to prevent ongoing harassment by debt collectors. The Consumer Action Law Centre has a sample letter that can be used for people in this situation to request not to be contacted, see https://consumeraction.org.au/debt-collection-letter-to-stop-contact/);
- communicating with a person under 18 about a debt, if the person is not the debtor;
- demanding payment of a debt from someone without having a reasonable belief that they are the debtor (e.g. demanding payment from every ‘J Smith’ who resides in a suburb in an attempt to collect a debt owed by John Smith);
- communicating with a person in a manner that is unreasonable in its frequency, nature or content (the ACCC debt collection guidelines provide information on appropriate hours and frequency of contact).
VCAT may (1) A standard set of working conditions, including pay rates, for a particular industry. (2) A court decision that a party receive compensation, such as an award of damages to compensate them for physical injuries. A court order for money to be paid to someone to compensate them for a loss suffered as a result of a civil wrong or breach of contract. For example, a person who caused a serious permanent injury to another person can be ordered by the court to pay damages that compensate the injured person for their loss of income from being unable to work. See also aggravated damages; compensatory damages; general damages; liquidated damages; nominal damages; special damages. of up to $10 000 where a person has experienced humiliation or distress:
- due to a course of conduct (conduct that occurs on at least two occasions);
- in contravention of the above prohibited debt collection practices; and
- where the debt is a consumer debt (a debt that was incurred wholly or predominantly in connection with personal, domestic or household purposes).
Other remedies may be available under the ACL.