When you sell a product or service, you must comply with fair trading regulations. When you buy a product or service, you have consumer rights and guarantees. Fair trading laws ensure that trading is fair for your business and your customers.

Australian federal and state laws protect you, your business and your customers from unfair trading practices. These laws, together with industry codes of practice, help your business operate fairly and competitively, and make sure your customers are properly informed and protected.

It’s against the law for businesses to limit or prevent competition. It’s important that businesses understand their rights and obligations at all times.

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (the Act) is a national law that regulates fair trading in Australia and governs how all businesses in Australia must deal with their customers, competitors and suppliers. The Act promotes fair trading between competitors while also ensuring that consumers are treated fairly. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) administers and enforces the Act along with state and territory regulators.

The Act broadly covers:

  • unfair market practices
  • industry codes
  • mergers and acquisitions of companies
  • product safety
  • collective bargaining
  • product labelling
  • price monitoring
  • industry regulation – airports, electricity, gas, telecommunications.

ACCC Small business & the Competition and Consumer Act guide

The ACCC Small business & the Competition and Consumer Act guide is designed to help small businesses understand their key rights and responsibilities under the Act. It is important that you understand and meet your obligations under the Act so that you do not break the law.

Read the guide

Fair trading laws in your state or territory

While the Act is a national law, each state and territory also provides additional consumer protections within their own fair trading legislation.

If you sell products or services, make sure you’re aware of your local state or territory legislation. Each state and territory has fair trading departments within their governments that can help you.

Access Canberra administers the ACT Fair Trading Act 1992 and provides information on codes of practice and other business guides for traders.

NSW Fair Trading administers the NSW Fair Trading Act 1987. Fair Trading's Acceptable business conduct provides business operators with information about how to trade fairly in New South Wales.

Consumer Affairs administers the NT Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading Act 1990. You can find information on trader issues such as advertising, business tenancies, disposal of uncollected goods and product safety.

Consumer and Business Services administers the SA Fair Trading Act 1987 and provides businesses with information on fair trading laws, advertising, handling complaints and warranties.

The Consumer, Building and Occupational Services administers the Australian Consumer Law (Tasmania) Act 2010 and has publications covering many aspects of fair trading.

Consumer Affairs Victoria administers the Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act 2012.

Forms and publications are available to help businesses understand fair trading.

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