Consumer advocacy group CHOICE is applauding Treasury's recent proposal to change the law, so that businesses using unfair contract terms will be fined for their bad behaviour.
"Right now, businesses are not allowed to use unfair terms but there's no penalty for breaking the law. At worst, a business will be told to change their contract. This practically means that unfair contract terms are still common in Australia," says CHOICE campaigner, Dean Price.
"Penalising businesses will stop unfair behaviour, like businesses deleting your account without reason, charging higher fees without notice or sneaking in hidden extra costs. The proposal from Minister Sukkar will finally make businesses think twice before proposing an unfair term in a contract."
"CHOICE is urging the government to proceed with its plan to make businesses pay when they force Australians into unfair contract terms."
CHOICE has found unfair contract terms across all types of industries. In the ten years since the initial prohibition on unfair contract terms we've discovered:
- Energy Australia claiming it can introduce any new charges whenever they want;
- A mortgage contract from ING that demands you aren't loud or offensive in your home;
- Dating app Grindr claiming it can terminate a user's account for any or no reason;
- Bedshed forcing you to buy a waterproof protector from them if you want to return an uncomfortable mattress under their "Comfort Guarantee"; and
- Dating app Tinder forcing you to sign away certain legal rights and to resolve any complaints through arbitration in Texas.
"CHOICE urges the parliament to pass Minister Sukkar's proposed reforms before the end of the year. This change will be highly effective in protecting Australians from unfair contract terms and the personal strife they can cause," says Price.
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Energy and mobile phone unfair contracts - Consumer rights and advice