On 9 November 2023, the new unfair contract regime will come into effect under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) and the mirrored provisions in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) in two parts: 

  1. the introduction of penalties and other changes relating to unfair contract terms in standard form contracts with consumers and small businesses; and

  2. significant increases in maximum penalties for breaches of certain provisions of the CCA, including the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The changes will mean more small business contracts are subject to the unfair contract terms protections found in the ACL, by applying to those involving businesses that employ fewer than 100 people or have an annual turnover of less than $10 million, irrespective of the value of the contract. This is a significant increase in reach compared to the previous legislation.
The amendments will apply to:

  • new standard contracts entered into at or after the Commencement Date

  • existing standard contracts that are renewed at or after the Commencement Date

  • terms of existing standard contracts that are varied at or after the Commencement Date.

Our Corporate and Commercial team has prepared a short video update on the changes should you wish to know more about how it might affect you. 


Links to related articles 

Unfair contract terms and the transport sector - there's still time to update your standard terms and conditions

What? A $50 million fine? Prepare for extension to unfair contract terms, significant increases in competition and consumer law civil penalties

Beware of unfair or prejudicial contract provisions

What the unfair contract terms regime means for financial services businesses

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2024.

Related Articles