Corporate Compliance

Wiliam has recently written about the importance of compliance for SME sector. The Commonwealth Government has recently introduced a Bill that will affect all B2C operatives. The Trade Practices Amendment (Australian Consumer Law) Bill 2009 (Cth) will regulate terms of standard form contracts.

To reiterate, the Bill covers business to consumer transactions, but not business to business. The Bill will only affect corporate businesses, per s 51 (xx) of the Commonwealth Constitution, since there is no federal constitutional power to legislate on contracts generally.

Important notes

  • The Bill prohibits “unfair terms” in standard form consumer contracts 
  • The onus of proof is on a party to disprove that a contract is a standard form contract
  • There will be a list of “prohibited terms” that cannot be used in standard form contracts 
  • There will be public warning notices, monetary penalties and orders as enforcement tools

Applying the above to online business, where do most businesses publish their standard terms of business? The answer is that they are published on websites.

  • What would your business do if a key term were found to be unfair?
  • What would your business do if a public warning notice were issued against you?

Having the ability to update clearly and precisely your website is now a necessity. It is crucial to note that terms of contracts are not restricted to what is expressly written. Descriptions of goods or services, pictures of products and seller recommendations can all form part of the ultimate consumer contract. 
Wiliam can scope, redesign, and build a website that anticipates the need to update key information as quickly as possible.