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What must be included in the contract?

A telemarketing contract must include clear statements about:

  • the full terms of the agreement including the total price that is to be paid (if possible) or
  • how the total price will be calculated (if total price is not known, for example if the contract is for sale of gas and total depends on how much gas is used)
  • any extra delivery charges.

Details about the supplier including all of the following:

  • Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN)
  • business address, or their home address (this must not just be a post box)
  • email address
  • fax number.

See s. 79—Schedule 2—Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (link below)

Extra requirements relating to domestic or personal use

The following laws only apply to telemarketing agreements for goods or services for personal, domestic or household use, with a value of over $100 (or if the value is unknown).

Agreement's structure, look and layout

The agreement must be printed clearly or typed. If any changes are made to the agreement, they may be handwritten. The contents of the agreement must be transparent. Transparent means that the document has to be written in plain language. legible and presented clearly.

If a term in the agreement is not transparent, it may be considered to be 'unfair' and therefore void.

See ss. 23, 24, 79—Schedule 2—Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (link below)

Note: There is no longer any minimum font size (as was required under former state law).

Buyer right to end the agreement

The front page of the contract must clearly state that the consumer has a right to terminate the agreement.

See s. 79(b)(i)—Schedule 2—Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (link below)

Buyer must sign

The buyer must sign the agreement and any amendments that have been made. A copy of the agreement must be given to the consumer immediately after signing.

If the seller is selling on behalf of a supplier they must write their name in full, their business address or their email address.

See s. 78—Schedule 2—Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (link below)

What happens if the seller does not comply?

If a contract does not include all these things then the contract cannot be enforced against the consumer.

If the supplier fails to provide a copy of the contract or if the purchaser is not told about their right to cancel the contract or about the total costs or method of calculating cost as is required under the Act, then the cooling-off period is increased to 6 months.

See Cancelling the contract

Complaints to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

A consumer can complain to CAV about a failure to comply with these laws.
See 'Making a consumer complaint' (link below)

Supplier could get a fine

If the seller does not include all of theses details in the agreement, they may be fined by a court or tribunal. The maximum fine is:

  • $50,000 for a body corporate
  • $10,000 for an individual.

If the seller (sales person and their company) is not the actual suppliers of the goods or services, both the seller and the supplier may be penalised.

See s. 77—Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (link below)

More information

Legislation

Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)

  • Part 3-2, Div 2—unsolicited consumer agreements
  • s. 2—defines transparent
  • s. Part 2-3—unfair contract terms
  • s. 76—responsibility to inform the consumer about the termination (cooling-off) period
  • s. 79—what has to be included in the agreement
  • s. 81—any amendments must be signed by both parties
  • Part 5-2—Remedies
  • s. 224(1)(iv)—pecuniary penalties for breaches of unsolicited consumer agreements (door-to-door-sales)
  • s. 224(3)(table)—item 5—maximum penalty

See Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)—Schedule 2—The Australian Consumer Law(opens in a new window)

Or see Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)(opens in a new window)

Related pages

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