From 1 July 2021, more consumers will benefit from the statutory protection of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) with the upper limit for consumer rights protection increasing from $40,000 to $100,000.
Previously, a ‘consumer’ under the ACL has been a person (and, importantly, this can include businesses and companies as well as individuals) who purchases:
With effect from the start of the new financial year on 1 July 2021, this cap of $40,000 has increased to $100,000. Businesses supplying consumers with goods or services with a monetary value of up to this new limit will be required to comply with the consumer guarantees set out in the ACL.
The ACL provides the following consumer rights against suppliers and manufacturers: 9 consumer guarantees applying to goods, and 3 consumer guarantees applying to services.
Certain consumer guarantees apply to both suppliers and manufacturers, while others apply either to suppliers or manufacturers only.
The consumer guarantees provide that goods:
For services, the relevant consumer guarantees are that the services:
If a supplier or manufacturer breaches a consumer guarantee, the consumer can look to the ACL for remedies. The remedies available to consumers include:
The type of remedy available, and whether the supplier or manufacturer is liable, will depend on the nature of the problem and the consumer guarantee that was breached.
As more people and businesses will now fall within the definition of ‘consumer’, it is important that suppliers and manufactures of goods and services are aware of how this may impact their business processes.
Suppliers and manufacturers of goods or services valued up to $100,000 should take steps to review and update their terms and conditions, and their warranty policies to ensure compliance. This is crucial as the ACL automatically voids any terms that are inconsistent with the consumer guarantees.
Employee training on the ACL is also crucial to ensure that staff do not mislead or misrepresent consumers about the rights and remedies available to them under the consumer guarantees regime.
However, this amendment is not all bad for suppliers and manufacturers. Any business which satisfies the new definition of ‘consumer’ will itself enjoy the protection of the ACL’s consumer guarantees for all purchases of goods or services up to $100,000.
For further information, or a detailed discussion on how this may impact your business, please contact our commercial law team.
This memo presents an overview and commentary of the subject matter. It is not provided in the context of a solicitor-client relationship and no duty of care is assumed or accepted. It does not constitute legal advice.
© Moulis Legal 2021
 Treasury Laws Amendment (Acquisition as Consumer – Financial Thresholds) Regulations 2020 (Cth) regs 2, 77A; Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) sch 2 (‘Australian Consumer Law’).
 Australian Consumer Law s 3.
 Ibid ch 3 pt 3-2.
 Ibid ch 3 pt 3-2.
 Ibid pt 5-4.