Australian Consumer Law penalties to increase

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No.3) Bill 2018 has been introduced into the House of Representatives to strengthen penalties under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The Bill amends the ACL, to strengthen and align the maximum penalties under the ACL with the maximum penalties under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act.

The amendments will take effect from the later of 1 July 2018 and the day after the Bill receives the Royal Assent. The amended penalty regime will apply in relation to acts, omissions or offences that occur on or after the commencement date.

The new maximum penalty for a body corporate will the greater of:

• $10 million; or

• if the court can determine the value of the benefit obtained from the offence, or act or omission, by the body corporate and any related bodies corporate – three times the value of the benefit; or

• if the court cannot determine the value of the benefit – 10 per cent of the annual turnover of the body corporate.

Currently the maximum penalty for a body corporate under the ACL is $1.1 million.

The maximum penalty for a person other than a body corporate will be $500,000.  Currently the maximum penalty for a person other than a body corporate is $220,000.

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