Unfair contract terms (ACL)

This publication is for: 
Business / companyConsumer

About this guide 

This is one of six guides to the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), developed by Australia’s consumer protection agencies to help businesses understand their responsibilities under the law.

This guide will help businesses and legal practitioners understand the unfair contract terms of the ACL.

It covers what an unfair contract term is and which contracts are affected by the law. 

While the guide includes examples of the types of terms that may be considered unfair, it does not present a definitive list of what is unfair—or, by omission, fair—under the law. Ultimately, a court or tribunal will determine if a term in a standard form consumer contract is unfair.

These guides:

  • explain the law in simple language but are no substitute for the legislation
  • give general information and examples—not legal advice or a definitive list of situations where the law applies
  • include examples of the ACL’s application by Australian Consumer Protection regulators and by Australian courts. 

About the other guides

Other guides in this series cover:

Consumer guarantees 

Covers supplier, manufacturer and importer responsibilities when there is a problem with goods and services; refunds, replacements, repairs and other remedies.

Sales practices

Covers unsolicited supplies, unsolicited consumer agreements (door-to-door and telemarketing), lay-by agreements, pricing, proof of transaction and itemised bills, referral selling, pyramid schemes, harassment and coercion. 

Avoiding unfair business practices

Covers misleading or deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct, country of origin, false and misleading representations.

Compliance and enforcement 

Covers how regulators enforce the ACL. 

Consumer product safety 

Covers safety standards, recalls, bans, safety warning notices and mandatory reporting requirements.

Further information and copies of these and other publications are available from the Australian Consumer Law website.

Consumer Protection
Fact sheet
Last updated 10 Oct 2017

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