Competition and Consumer law

Competition and Consumer law

What has Business Law And Commercial Law got to do with Competition And Consumer Law? A great deal. That’s why we include it in our areas of focus. This means that our clients can avoid the inconvenience of seeing one legal firm for their business work, then having to go to another legal firm to deal with the competition aspect of their documents.

Compliance with the competition and consumer laws does not just happen. Indeed, what is often considered to be “commercial” or “good” business practice falls foul of the competition and consumer laws. Many of our new clients are often surprised to learn that their supply chain, or that their advertising campaigns or pricing policies breach the law.

Many business proprietors are unaware how easy it is for the authorities to become aware of such breaches. For example, many web-site terms and conditions of sale are frequently reviewed on-line by the ACCC (our corporate watch dog). It is awkward, inconvenient and also very embarrassing for the ‘Ts and Cs’ of any business to have to change after receipt of a ‘non-compliance’ letter from the ACCC – to say nothing of the potential fines, and other penalties (including corrective advertising where appropriate) that the ACCC has power to apply.

Of course, it is always better to fix up the problems in the draft documents before they become operative. We can assist our clients by pointing out to them where their proposed contract, franchise agreement, licence agreement, distribution agreement, deed, arrangement or joint venture may fall foul of Australia’s competition and consumer laws.

We can identify the issues that can give rise to possible legal breaches. We have re-written many web-site terms and conditions of sale and we can assist whether our client is selling goods or selling services.

We can help our clients by explaining what price fixing is and how to avoid it. We can add value to our clients’ documents by clarifying for our clients, the meaning of resale price maintenance and exclusive dealing, and how to avoid them. Our explanations can assist our clients who are breaching the market sharing provisions of the law or who are restricting the supply of goods or services to a particular business or to particular types of businesses.

Where applicable, we assist our clients by explaining what is misuse of market power and how to avoid a breach of those provisions. Our clients are also appreciative to hear about our advice concerning predatory pricing or other conduct that is so harsh and oppressive that it goes beyond hard bargaining and good conscience. Such conduct is called unconscionable conduct.

What about third line forcing and full-line forcing? What are the statutory consumer guarantees which apply to sales to consumers? Can you avoid them? Can you limit them? Can you limit in your contract, the value of any claim which might be made against your business in the future? And if so, then by how much? These are all goods questions that every business proprietor will want to have answers to. We can give those answers and explain the best way forward for you.

If you want a review of your terms, or to ensure that your contract is not in breach of the Competition and Consumer Laws , then call us on 02 9570 7844, and ask for one of our lawyers.