What is the Limitation Period for Misleading and Deceptive Conduct Claims?

October 10, 2023    litigation lawyers
What is the Limitation Period for Misleading and Deceptive Conduct Claims?

Honesty and transparency is one of the essential characteristics of fair trade. Advertising or putting claims forth for increasing sales and revenue is often necessary in business. However, claiming or presenting false data that will influence the buyers’ or the clients’ decisions is not permitted under Australian law.

The accused and the accusers in misleading & deceptive conduct cases should have experienced and skilled legal representation. It is better to know about the different aspects of this legal instrument before filing a case. Moreover, it would help if you hire the most experienced lawyer from the most experienced institute.

Knowing about Misleading and Deceptive conduct

According to fair trade practices, the consumer or the client company should be supplied with the services they are paying for. It includes information about certain products, claims about competitor’s businesses, and many other facets. However, like in other parts of life, one can be the victim of false claims and incorrect information.

  • The Australian legal system has strict laws against these practices, found under section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) (Competition and Consumer Act 2010). Previously, it was included in section 52 of the Trade Practices Act.
  • According to the experienced Civil Litigation Lawyers Perth, this law is widely used in all types of ‘trade or commerce’ –related disputes, including the differences of opinion between clients and business, and business and other business.
  • In addition, this litigation is applied between business problems where any effective contract restricts other possible legal solutions.
  • Understanding the inherent meaning of the law is important to increase the chances of success – as the text states that any entity engaged in trade or commerce must not employ conduct that is “likely to mislead or deceive”.
  • The quoted terms mean it doesn’t matter whether you wished to mislead or deceive; the effect on the customer will only be considered.
  • For example, a statement made with knowledge and belief of being true in a commercial context will be considered deceptive if it turns out to be false. You will still be held accountable for breaching this provision of Australian Consumer Law.
  • Therefore, it is better to consult and hire the most proficient and experienced lawyers to handle your case – whether you are the accused or the prosecutor.

What are the examples of this conduct?

In commercial contexts, misleading and deceptive conduct will arise under different situations. Some of those are mentioned below:

  • Contract change

The company changes a contract without prior intimation or knowledge of the client. For example, they may represent the production capacity of a supplier differently in their contract and offer different results in reality.

  • Deal negotiation

The financial stand of a company plays an important role in determining commercial deals between companies. Usually, a client’s concern will set their conditions according to the customer companies’ economic status, and falsifying data causing misrepresentation will fall under misleading and deceptive conduct.

Any two parties entering the business relationship shouldn’t offer incorrect info to improve their chances of getting a better deal. It breaks the Australian legal system for fair trade practices.

  • Hiding critical factors from regulators

Each industry, especially if it’s manufacturing or production, needs to follow some regulations. For example, they have to keep their effluent emission in limit, ensure that their processes aren’t polluting the environment extensively, and several others. Complying with these regulations is often important to renew their licenses to function.

Incidentally, each regulatory body requires some parameters to be followed by the company; in many cases, the concern must report them. If they fail to disclose or falsify material facts or data, they will commit misleading and deceptive conduct – punishable by law.

  • Working differently than set commercial discussions

Some companies prefer to work with a single service provider to maintain uniqueness and quality of service and are often prepared to pay more than the common rate. If a service provider company implies its sole involvement during commercial discussions and uses several providers, it will commit false and deceiving behavior.

Apart from the above instances, inappropriate claims, erroneous endorsements, fabricated information, and private data sharing in a commercial context will be considered a breach of ACL.

It is, therefore, worthwhile to consult with the best litigation lawyers in Perth in these matters. The most recommended legal agency will help you find the most appropriate lawyer for your case and offer direction on the correct steps.

What are some use cases of committing deceptive conduct?

As mentioned earlier, the court can consider legal action against a commercial concern even if their actions are likely to mislead or deceive, and they didn’t actually do it. However, according to the opinion of the most experienced misleading and deceptive conduct lawyers, the action must have a ‘real and not remote’ probability of misleading and deceiving someone to the true transaction or bargain. Some of the real-life examples of such conduct include:

  • Advertising untrue and malicious information about a company’s or its competitors’ products or services.
  • Using special offers or ‘bait advertising’ that offers an incorrect representation of the product and its prices.
  • Hiding important information (which can cause the clients to reconsider their decision) about products and services in fine print or disclaimers intentionally.
  • Advertising products at one price and selling them at a different and usually higher price.
  • Holding critical information on purpose. Moreover, compelling others to do the same will also be considered illegal under this facet of ACL.

The person or commercial concern has to prove that their dependence on the conduct of the accused company was the reason for their loss. Therefore, relying on the most experienced legal counselor for thorough and truthful representation without any issues is better.

Conclusion

The client or commercial concern can complain about misleading & deceptive conduct within six years of its occurrence. However, the law hasn’t placed any fixed financial limit for making such a claim. Moreover, contracts that shorten the limitation period cannot deny a person’s right to place a subsequent claim past the contract-specified period but within six years of the event occurring. So, whenever such events occur, it is always better to associate with expert lawyers, who can walk you through the entire process.

However, claimants must be aware of such clauses before signing such contracts. They should insist on including relevant provisions when the commercial contract includes time limitations. Therefore, you should discuss the details of your case with the most skilled civil litigation counselor and act according to their suggestion.

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