The Australian Consumer Law aims to protect customers from unethical business practices. It is uniformly applicable all over the nation, and non-compliance leads to legal troubles. Under this law, Section 18 makes misleading and deceptive conduct illegal in the field of trade and commerce. Scroll through this article to discover crucial details about the misleading and deceptive conduct law in Australia and its legal implications.
Misleading and deceptive conduct revolves around businesses making inaccurate, misleading, or deceptive claims about their offerings. The legal provision that puts a ban on misleading and deceptive conduct contains the critical phrase “likely to mislead or deceive.” Therefore, misleading and deceptive conduct is not just illegal when businesses do it intentionally.
The “intention” to mislead or deceive consumers is not given importance here. Maybe a business is highlighting information that it believes is true, but, in reality, it is false. Even in that case, consumers can hold businesses liable for violating the provisions of Section 18 under the Australian Consumer Law.
Usually, deception requires malicious intent and involves a guilty mind. However, misleading behavior does not always involve an intent. Therefore, even unintentional misleading conduct is punishable under Australian law.
Once you approach a commercial litigation lawyer, they will tell you that misleading and deceptive conduct can entail different types of activities. Some of the most prominent forms of misleading or deceptive behaviors in trade and commerce are as follows:
The law of misleading and deceptive conduct is pretty complex. Therefore, a thorough inspection is necessary before giving the verdict. In a court of law, several factors are taken into consideration to determine whether a behavior was misleading or deceptive for an individual or specific group of consumers. The different factors taken into consideration are as follows:
Context: The court begins with inspecting the circumstances or background of the conduct. The type of goods and services and the impacted consumers are also taken into consideration. Understanding the context also involves checking the manner of the conduct and whether any disclaimers or statements were used to mislead or deceive consumers.
Silence: The court will try to determine whether it was silence or hidden information that led to the breaching of the provisions under section 18.
Opinions and Future Predictions: Any predictions or opinions about the future can also be misleading or deceptive. No business should share undisclosed, unfounded, or unreasonable assumptions about their offerings.
Audience: Before declaring conduct as misleading or deceiving, the court will consider the plausible reaction of a reasonable or ordinary member of the impacted audience. Moreover, the characteristics of different groups of target audiences need to be considered. Remember that something that is misleading or deceiving to one segment of the audience might not be the same for others.
The court will always rely on evidence like customer testimonials, market research, and expert reports before declaring certain conduct as misleading or deceptive. But it does not have to be proved that a business or individual was misled or deceived. Any conduct that could be potentially deceiving or misleading will also attract relevant legal implications.
The legal consequences for misleading and deceptive conduct in Australia are as follows:
The best litigation lawyers in Perth are equipped to handle all types of misleading and deceptive conduct cases. These experienced and dedicated professionals evaluate different aspects of the legal scenario to help clients navigate past the intricacies of Australian Consumer Law. In the end, experienced and professional litigation lawyers will help resolve all the serious repercussions surfacing from misleading and deceptive conduct.