With new B2B unfair contract terms.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken action over the last six months to ensure small business have a level playing field.

“The ACCC is committed to ensuring small businesses receive the protections of the new business-to-business unfair contract terms law, franchising and other industry codes,” ACCC deputy chair Dr Michael Schaper said.

“We spoke to a number of companies including Uber, Fairfax Media, Jetts Fitness, Lendlease Property Management, and Sensis that have altered their terms and conditions in order to address concerns raised by the ACCC.

“However, despite the number of businesses that have amended their standard form contracts, the ACCC is prepared to take court action in the coming months to ensure compliance with the new law on unfair contract terms,” Dr Schaper said.

The ACCC says it has a number of in-depth investigations underway and will take further enforcement action this year to ensure that small businesses receive the protection of the new business-to-business unfair contract term (B2B UCT) law.

Some examples of the changes that have been made since the introduction of the new law, include:

  • Removing terms that allow a trader broad discretion to terminate a small business contract “without cause”
  • Making automatic contract renewal terms more transparent and including a contractual obligation to remind customers about the pending automatic renewal of their contracts
  • Amending wide-ranging unilateral variation clauses to limit variations to circumstances where it is reasonably necessary to protect the trader’s legitimate interests
  • Amending wide-ranging cost recovery terms so that the trader can only recover costs which are properly and reasonably incurred