As from 1 July 2010 a new Australia wide unfair contracts law, called The Australian Consumer Law, came into operation. This law deals with ‘consumer’ transactions and is aimed at Standard Form Contracts (such mobile phone contracts) which have ‘unfair’ terms in them.
This is, however, just one of a number of laws that exist to help people deal with unfair contracts, including:
- The Fair Trading Act
- The Trade Practices Act
- The Contracts Review Act
- The Insurance Contracts Act
There are also bodies such as the Banking Ombudsman, or the Telecommunications Ombudsman, or the Privacy Commissioner that can help people having trouble in some circumstances. Additionally a set of legal principles have been built up over many years by the courts that can be helpful, including the so called Rules of Natural Justice and the Rules developed by the Equity courts.
Anyone having problems with a contract or similar situation should seek legal advice before agreeing to any demands made against them, and should not assume that the other party can get away with whatever they are threatening to do.
It is possible to take action to fight decisions made by government bodies or ones made by private organizations if the decisions are made in breach of the Rules of Natural Justice or Rules of Procedural Fairness. These situations can range from decisions made by a government body about the granting of a licence to decisions by a Club or a sporting body to take disciplinary action.
At Coode & Coory we have represented many people in these types of situations and we can give you advice about your potential rights and how to go about making a claim. This might involve you making a claim yourself to someone like the Banking Ombudsman, or it might involve going to court. Do not hesitate to make an appointment to come and see us to discuss your situation.