Unconscionable conduct

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Business / companyConsumer

Unconscionable conduct is a statement or action so unreasonable it defies good conscience.

A business must not act unconscionably when:

  • selling or supplying goods and services to a consumer; or 
  • supplying or acquiring goods and services to or from a small business.

Examples of unconscionable conduct by a trader can, depending on the circumstances, include:

  • not properly explaining the conditions of a contract to a person they know does not speak English or has a learning disability; 
  • not allowing sufficient time to read an agreement, ask questions or get advice; 
  • using a friend or relative of the customer to influence the customer’s decision; 
  • inducing a person to sign a blank or one-sided contract; 
  • taking advantage of a low-income consumer by making false statements about the real cost of a loan; 
  • failing to disclose key contractual terms; and
  • using high pressure tactics, such as refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer.

Penalties

There is a maximum civil penalty of $220,000 for an individual and $1.1 million for a body corporate. 

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