Remove Unfair Contract Terms
The ACCC is encouraging businesses to review their standard form contracts and remove or amend any unfair contract terms before new penalties take effect.
From 9 November, changes to the Australian Consumer Law will prohibit businesses from proposing, using, or relying on unfair contract terms in standard form contracts with consumers and small businesses.
Tips for businesses to consider when reviewing their contracts:
- Consider both points of view: if you think a term is necessary to protect your business’s legitimate interest, consider the term from the other party’s point of view.
- Include counter-balancing terms: check that your contract has appropriate counter-balancing terms. For example, if you consider that your business reasonably needs the ability to unilaterally change the product or service being provided under the contract, does the contract also allow your customers to exit the contract without penalty when this occurs?
- Avoid broad terms: don’t have terms that are as broad as possible. Make sure terms are only as broad as reasonably necessary to protect your business’s legitimate interests.
- Meet your obligations under the Australian Consumer Law: don’t have terms that seek to avoid your business’s obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. For example, don’t include terms that seek to limit your customers’ consumer guarantees rights, or terms that seek to disclaim any representations your business may have made outside of the contract.
- Be clear: Use clear and simple language in your contracts.
- Be transparent: ensure key terms are clearly drawn to the attention of your customers during the sign-up process, and any renewal process.