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Consumer transactions form a contract between a retailer and a purchaser. These relationships are governed by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), located in Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA) (formerly the Trade Practices Act (TPA)) and has been adopted in all States and Territories.

Some parts of the ACL came into effect on July 1 2010 and the rest, including State and Territory adoption, came into effect on 1 January 2011. The name of the TPA was changed on 1 January 2011 to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Who is bound?

The ACL applies generally to persons but also applies to corporations under CCA section 131. The ACL binds each government only ‘in so far as it carries on a business’ (s2As14Australian Consumer Law (Tasmania) Act 2010 (Tas). Case law has shown that governments do not carry on a business in respect of almost all of their commercial activities (that is, principally procurement). The result is that each government is very substantially exempt from the ACL.

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