Fair Trading Act 1989 - Queensland

Service summary

The purpose of the Act is to improve consumer well-being through consumer empowerment and protection, fostering effective competition and enabling the confident participation of consumers in markets in which both consumers and suppliers trade fairly.

The Act regulates consumer trader transactions and the supply of goods and services in Queensland and sets out provisions relating to:

  • general trade practices, including specific prohibitions against misleading, deceptive or unconscionable conduct and false or misleading representation;
  • unsolicited goods and services;
  • unfair contract terms;
  • statutory consumer guarantees;
  • lay by sales;
  • itemised billing;
  • unsolicited consumer agreements; and
  • the prescription through regulation of particular codes of practice for fair dealing.

The Act further provides for the making of mandatory information and safety standards relating to specific goods and services.

The Fair Trading Act adopts the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) which is a uniform national law enforced by the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.

For many purposes the provisions of the Fair Trading Act apply to all persons and are not limited to a defined class of consumers. However, for some purposes, provisions apply with respect to a defined class of consumer on the basis that it is not appropriate to extend the protection afforded by the relevant provision more broadly.

The definition of a consumer is relevant to the following provisions in the ACL:

  • statutory consumer guarantees;
  • unsolicited consumer agreements;
  • lay-by sales agreements;
  • the provision of itemised bills;
  • the definition of continuing credit contracts;
  • linked credit contracts.

Service type

Regulatory Obligation

An obligation defined in law. A business must comply with relevant services.

Definition of terms

Consumer
  1. A person is taken to have acquired particular goods as a consumer if, and only if
    1. the amount paid or payable for the goods, as worked out under subsections (4) to (9), did not exceed
      1. $40,000; or
      2. if a greater amount is prescribed for the purposes of this paragraph, that greater amount; or
    2. the goods were of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use or consumption; or
    3. the goods consisted of a vehicle or trailer acquired for use principally in the transport of goods on public roads.
  2. However, subsection (1) does not apply if the person acquired the goods, or held himself or herself out as acquiring the goods
    1. for the purpose of resupply; or
    2. for the purpose of using them up or transforming them, in trade or commerce
      1. in the course of a process of production or manufacture; or
      2. in the course of repairing or treating other goods or fixtures on land.
  3. A person is taken to have acquired particular services as a consumer if, and only if
    1. the amount paid or payable for the services, as worked out under subsections (4) to (9), did not exceed
      1. $40,000; or
      2. if a greater amount is prescribed for the purposes of subsection (1) (a) that greater amount; or
    2. the services were of a kind ordinarily acquired for personal, domestic or household use or consumption.

 

Unfair contract terms of consumer contracts
  • A term of a consumer contract is void if
    1. the term is unfair; and
    2. the contract is a standard form contract.
  • The contract continues to bind the parties if it is capable of operating without the unfair term.
  • A consumer contract is a contract for
    1. a supply of goods or services; or
    2. a sale or grant of an interest in land to an individual whose acquisition of the goods, services or interest is wholly or predominantly for personal, domestic or household use or consumption.

Lodgement

Comply

Authorised inspectors have powers to monitor and enforce compliance with the Act, including entry and search of premises and seizure of property related to a suspected breach of the Act.

Fines may be imposed by a court for offences against the Act. The regulator may approach the court to seek an order that a civil pecuniary penalty be paid. The court may also issue an injunction or make other orders providing redress or compensation. The regulator can issue infringement notices for some provisions of the Act.


Appeal

Appeal process

Lodgement

Where goods have been seized on the basis that they are banned under the Act, the person claiming to be entitled to the goods may apply to a Magistrate to have them released to him or her.

Complaints or concerns about any investigation should be referred in writing to the Executive Manager of the relevant branch of the Office of Fair Trading, i.e. Investigations Branch.


Administering agency

Department of Justice and Attorney-General
Office of Fair Trading
Fair Trading Operations

Contact details

Queensland Government Service Centre
Department of Justice and Attorney-General
Office of Fair Trading
Fair Trading Operations

Operating address:
Upper Plaza Terrace
33 Charlotte Street
Brisbane, Queensland 4000
Mailing address:
GPO Box 3111
Brisbane, Queensland 4001

Phone:

13 QGOV (13 74 68)

Fax:

07 3008 5946

Supporting information

Disclaimer

The information contained on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) web site, or via packages or other sources is intended for general guidance only.

To the full extent permitted by law, the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments make no representations or warranties (expressed or implied) in relation to the information, including its accuracy, currency or completeness.

The business information provided does not constitute professional or legal advice, nor is the use of any third party resource an endorsement of the information contained, the associated organisation, product or service. It is recommended that you obtain appropriate professional and /or independent legal advice to ensure that the material provided here is relevant to your particular circumstances.

To the full extent permitted by law the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments, their employees and agents do not accept any liability for any reason, including without limitation, liability in negligence, to any person for the general information which is provided herein, or in respect of anything, including the consequences of anything done, or not done, by any such person in whole or partial reliance upon the information.