Prohibition on unfair trading

4In Australia, we don’t have a ban on unfair trading.  Instead, our consumer laws rely on prohibiting something called “unconscionable conduct”, an old-fashioned approach based on the moral conduct of the wrongdoer. It is increasingly recognised that effective consumer law in a modern technology and service-based economy like ours should promote effective competition.

That’s why we need a more up-to-date prohibition on unfair trading that considers the impact of the conduct on consumer decision-making, competition and fair market outcomes. This can ensure fairness is central to growing our economy.

Last year, Consumer Action published a discussion document to inform the debate about unconscionable and unfair trading in the lead up to this year’s review of the Australian Consumer Law. This paper argues that further reform, in the form of a new prohibition against ‘unfair trading’,  is needed to shut down unfair business models.

Policy contact: Zac Gillam: 03 9670 5088 –

Media contact: Jonathan Brown: 0413 299 567 –

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