Unfair Contract Terms

30 May 2014

The Australian Government is investigating the use of unfair terms in contracts, with the intent of providing better proteaction for small business. Have your say in the consultation phase. 

The ACA is pleased to note that Treasury is undertaking a consultation process on behalf of Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand to investigate the inclusion of unfair terms in standard contracts – something that will be familiar to many architects. Treasury notes that:

Unfair contract terms are being included in standard form contracts involving small businesses, causing detriment throughout the community.

To address this, the government is exploring extending the unfair contract terms, which currently protect consumers, to also cover small business. This would mean that businesses offering standard form contracts to small businesses would have to comply with a new law. THis would allow a court to cancel out terms it finds unfair.

As part of this, Treasury is conducting a fairly extensive consultation process. This includes seeking information on examples of unfair terms, and seeking feedback on what particular business types and contract types should be covered by these new protections. 

The ACA will make a submission to this consultation, but we also urge members to also contribute directly. There are three ways to get involved – two of which are very easy and are aimed at individual companies. 

1. Take a short 10-15 minute survey. This covers businesses' experiences with contracts and unfair terms.

2. Provide brief feedback via the website.

3. Lodge a formal submission.

The deadline for all feedback is 1 August 2014

Detailed information about the review and consultation is available on the treasury website. This includes a fact sheet, a consultation paper and answers to frequently asked questions

The ACA response is being developed and coordinated by ACA – SA. If you would like to contribute to this please contact ACA – SA at sa@aca.org.au.

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