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The sharing economy is an online marketplace run by platform operators that connect consumers with people who have goods or services to sell, hire, rent or lease. Platform operators provide administrative functions, such as facilitating payment and managing the platform through the use of peer reviews.
Businesses like eBay or Gumtree that connect buyers and private sellers of goods or that supply goods for the shared use of consumers do not form part of the sharing economy. Sharing economy platforms include Uber, AirBnD and Airtasker.
If consumers buy or hire goods and services through an online marketplace or sharing economy platform, they are protected by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) if things go wrong, in the same way as they would be if they were to buy from any other business. Their rights don’t change if you hire goods or sell services online, through an app or sharing platform. Read more about consumer rights.
As a trader in the sharing economy, some of your rights include:
If you believe a consumer has not held up their end of a contract for a good or service, some platforms have their own internal resolution process to deal with this. Be sure to read your platform’s community rules and internal resolution process guidelines.
You can contact Consumer Protection to lodge a complaint if you aren’t able to resolve a problem with the platform or consumer first. For more information on your rights and obligations as a sharing economy trader, check out the ACL website’s page for private traders.
As a trader in the sharing economy, you must ensure that:
Read more about your business rights and responsibilities and the rights of consumers in the Sharing Economy.