Understanding Australian Misleading and Deceptive Conduct Laws

May 10, 2023    Employment Lawyers
Understanding Australian Misleading and Deceptive Conduct Laws

All business owners should avoid deceiving or misleading consumers because it’s illegal. The misleading and deceptive conduct is something that will deceive or mislead an individual.


The ACL or Australian Consumer Law provides that in commerce and trade, one should not engage in conduct, which is deceptive and misleading.


Things that can cover such conduct are advertisements and marketing, and any type of published promotions. Anything a person promises or says to another person during commerce or trade also falls under this type of conduct.


When a person misleads or deceives someone who’s operating their business in place of services, goods, value or price, the person will breach the ACL.


Taking a Look at the Examples of Misleading Behaviours


Experts who deal with misleading and deceptive cases have said that there are ways through which one can tell that he/she is getting misled. Here are some examples of it:


  • When a store promotes a promotion, which is on sale for $200 instead of the actual price of $400. But this was never the usual price. An individual sells a mobile phone, and the advertisement reads “complete coverage across the state” when it doesn’t do so.
  • Health stores sell products that promise to lessen the weight of a person when the product doesn’t have that type of effect.
  • When a mechanic promises to offer a “complete service” for a specific price but doesn’t tell its customers that the service covers only the bare minimum of the service, they promise.
  • A cleaning company provides a “complete bond recovery solution” for all the rental properties but doesn’t vacuum or clean the carpets, which is a part of the service.


How Exactly Does the Court Determine Deceptive and Misleading Conduct?


Whether or not the misleading and deceptive conduct falls under the statutory definition will get determined by the court. But how exactly does the court determine it? Let’s find out!


1. Silence Can Lead to Deceptive and Misconduct

The court will inspect the context where the silence has taken place. For instance, when the vendor is doing business, the potential purchaser who is through 95% of the company’s trade debts ignores the biggest one.


This is a silence where the debt might lead to deceptive and misleading conduct. Besides that, it can also show when exactly an individual made the statement but did not qualify it.


2. Conduct During the Time of Occurrence


Australian courts have found that when people make promises and then do not keep it is not viewed as conduct until the promise was made genuinely.


By considering this, the examination time is when exactly the promise was made. For instance, let’s say that the misleading conduct contained making a comment about the coming future.


So, the individual who made a comment can defend themselves by providing evidence that he/she had some grounds to believe the prediction would be true, even if it doesn’t eventuate.


3. A Conduit Might Not Be Liable


When an individual passes the information and wants it to be clear to the other party, he/she will not be liable for the breach of the law.


4. No Intention to Mislead


The misleading and deceptive conduct contract law experts say that deception is known to involve the guilty mind by nature. But it’s not the same when it comes to misleading. So, an individual might be liable even when the misleading was not intentional.


5. Conduct Needs to be Commerce or In Trade


Courts will look at the conduct’s context because the misleading or false statement might have taken place under commerce or in trade.


For instance, when a person states on a dating profile that they have the “body of the Adonis” might be misleading or false. This misleading statement can lead unsuspecting individuals to date the person.


But this action is not conducted under commerce or in trade and will not pull in the provision of the Section of the Australian Consumer Law.


The Penalties of Misleading and Deceptive Conduct?


The employment lawyers Perth WA says that businesses will experience many steep penalties under the Australian Consumer Law [ACL].


The businesses will only face the penalties when they are found deceiving or misleading a person during their business. The deceptive and misleading conduct can lead to the following civil actions:


  • The business has to pay up the compensation orders.
  • Awards in damages against the business [This means the business has to pay much more than just the compensation for the other person’s loss].
  • Getting disqualified from operating/running a business.


How to Avoid Deceiving and Misleading?

The employment law lawyers say that there are certain ways through which one can easily prevent themselves from getting misled and deceived. These are:


1. Disclaimers Cannot Offer Protection

In general, deceiving and misleading will depend heavily on the entire impression of a person’s conduct and not just the fine print. So, a disclaimer might be insufficient.


2. Having Actual Proof of Misleading People is Unnecessary

When one can easily prove that a person’s conduct can mislead or deceive someone, he/she can get impeached under the Act.


3. The Intentions are Irrelevant

It didn’t matter when someone didn’t intend to deceive or mislead anyone. If the conduct deceives or misleads an individual, the fact that the person acted out honestly does not factor in.


4. Silence Might Be Deceiving or Misleading

Let’s say an individual omits information that he/she has told another person. Here, he/she might breach the Act, especially if all these facts were already known by the person who was getting deceived or misled.


5. A Bit of Puffery is Alright

The employment lawyer Perth has defined “puffery” as an exaggeration that can’t be quantified, and no reasonable individual would regard it as true.

For example, under the ACL, “the best coffee in Perth” can be deceiving or misleading.


Ending Note

The ACL prohibits people from engaging in deceptive and misleading conduct or conduct that can mislead or deceive individuals.


Employment Lawyers Perth is there to assist any business or individuals when they believe they have been misled or deceived by someone.


They are experts in dealing with all types of deceptive and misconduct cases and will make sure that their clients receive the help they want. It’s guaranteed that taking their services will surely provide a positive outcome.

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