Section A – Consumers

Q1. To what extent do the changes in consumer law reflect the conditions which give rise to the need for law reform?
The need for consumer protection has grown over time. These changes create the need for law reform. Law reform is a legal mechanism which occurs to reflect the ever change morals and values of society. This occurs in all facets of life and law, especially with regards to consumer law. Consumer law started from the historical principle of “CAVIAT EMPTOR” or “buyers beware”, a development from village consumerism. This principle works on the basis that buyer and seller meet on equal terms. This has now vastly changed beginning in the US with Ralph Nader and President Kennedy.
Consumer: A consumer is a person who buys or uses goods or services generated within the economy.
Objectives of Consumer law:
  * Educate the public to make them aware of their rights
  * Articulating and mandating standards for the quality of goods and services
  * Providing statutory and common law remedies for consumers
  * Implementing weights and measures laws providing reliable benchmarks
  * Ensuring various occupations are licensed
  * Protection consumers in a time of global advertising ‘
  * Regulating contractual relationships between buyers and sellers
  * Helping vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers
Statutory protection:
  * Broadens scope for consumer protection
  * Trade practices amendment (ACL) act (no.2) 2010
  * Legislative response to the productivity commission report reviewing Australia’s consumer policy framework and made a strong recommendation that the TPA needed updating and the piecemeal state laws needed consolidation (reform)
  * New ACL provides uniform national framework
  * New guarantees, prohibition on specific false and misleading representations, prohibitions on unconscionable and unfair contractual terms and a single national product safety regime.