Consumer Law “Discuss whether the current law adequately protects consumers. ” A consumer can be defined as someone who buys the goods or services purchased for private use or consumption. The effectiveness of the law in protecting consumers has been effective but also non-effective because an assessment of its effectiveness can only be reached by a realisation of the development of consumer law in Australia. The legislation applies legal measures like laws such as the Trade Practices Act 1974 (cth), Consumer Protection Act 1969
(NSW) to help protect consumers. A wide variety of non-legal measures exist which aim to achieve justice for consumers. These include redress and remedies such as self-help and the media; however the legislation is quite ineffective in areas of consumer protection such as occupational licensing and contract rights. One mechanism that protects consumers is the development of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (cth). These acts ensure the rights of consumers as well as fair trade, competition and accurate
information in the marketplace. In the case ACCC v Target Australia Pty Ltd (2001) FCA, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took action against Target for misleading deceptive conducts from their target advertisement. Target was breached under the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) which prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct. The ACCC took target to court and enforced its penalties through the court. The ACCC helped to protect the need of consumers to have honest and non-deceptive advertising.
The Court ordered Target to apologise to all consumers who were misled by the company’s deceptive advertising. This shows the effectiveness of the law from the ACCC and the Trade Practices Act 1974 (cth) through criteria of enforcement. It also shows the effectiveness of the law in relation to the protection of individual rights, as Target was required to redress its deceptive conduct so that the right of individuals to non-misleading advertising was supported. The legislation has also been effective in protecting the rights of consumers through the development of the Consumer Protection Act 1969 (NSW).
It is evident in the case of ACCC v Apple PTY LTD (2013), when the ACCC sued apple for misleading advertising in relation to the promotion of its “iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G. The ACCC took Apple to the federal court where they were penalized 2. 25 million for misleading advertising to consumers. This shows the effectiveness of the law in protecting Consumers through the Consumer Protection Act 1969 (NSW) as Apple was penalized and all consumers that purchased the IPad had the right to return their product and receive their money back.
The effectiveness of this Act also shows that consumers are able to access the legislation to protect their individual rights. Non legal mechanisms such as consumer redress and remedies are available to the consumer to solve their problem without the involvement of the legislation. An effective remedy available to consumers is self-help avenues, which are usually open to consumers who feel they have been badly treated by suppliers or manufacturers. It is very effective in protecting consumer rights as a consumer is able to go to a direct business and is able to refund, repair or replace their product. Another effective feature in this mechanism is that it is a fast, less expensive and consumers will always get their desired solution. Although it becomes useless if the supplier fails to co-operate, studies undertaken by the ACCC in 2003 indicate the 90% of consumer disagreements are resolved through self-help.