Consumer Protection

Bill passes – TPA to become the CCA

The Trade Practices Amendment (Australian Consumer Law) Bill (No. 2) 2010 has passed – a bit sooner than some predicted – with the result that the Trade Practices Act will be no more come 1 January 2011.  It will be re-named the Competition and Consumer Law Act.  While the Government has labeled the changes brought about by this bill (which includes the second phase of the Australian consumer law) the ‘Biggest Change to the TPA in 35 years‘, this is certainly open to debate (the national competition regime brought about as a result of the Hilmer Report would in my view out-do the current change; the recent criminalisation of cartels should also rate highly on this scale) – claims like this are, of course, a predictable element of government rhetoric (see Bowen’s claim that the predatory pricing laws constituted the biggest TPA change in 20 years).

This change to consumer laws is, however, very significant and it will take some time to get used to the new naming and numbering system.  For a good summary of the changes see this news item from Mallesons.  Significantly, the Senate amended the definition of consumer originally proposed, so that it will continue to define as consumers those customers who purchase items valued at $40,000 or less (subject to some exceptions).

More to follow …

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