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.
There is a maximum civil penalty of $500,000 for an individual and $10 million for a body corporate.
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