Form Section Structure

Let’s make unfair illegal

From subscription traps to deceptive patterns, many businesses are exploiting a gap in Australia's consumer laws in a race to the bottom – and people are paying the price. But playing fair should be the rule, not the exception.


Sign the petition to make unfair business practices illegal now. 

Campaign Section Structure



It’s time to give consumers a fair go

Dodgy, shonky, or just plain unfair – whatever you call it, right now a gap in Australia’s consumer law is letting businesses get away with playing dirty.

From making it near-impossible to speak to customer service to a slew of tactics designed to dupe you into spending more money, it feels like unfair business practices are everywhere. And until there’s a law to stop them, companies will continue to get away with taking advantage of people. 

Jurisdictions like the EU, UK and US already have laws in place to address unfair business practices, but Australia is lagging behind. In the US, for example, the consumer watchdog has been able to take action against dodgy businesses that imposed excessive obstacles on people who tried to cancel their service. In Australia, businesses can still get away with using all kinds of tricks to take advantage of consumers. It’s clear that many big businesses won’t do the right thing by people unless they’re forced to.

In a cost of living crisis, it’s more important than ever that people are protected from costly, unfair tricks. This change is something the government is already considering, but to make it a priority we need to show that there’s strong support. The more of us that use our voice, the sooner we can make sure consumers get a fair go. Sign the petition for strong new fairness laws now.

Deceptive patterns 
This covers a range of dodgy tricks built into online design with the intention of pushing you to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. It might be a fake countdown to rush you into making a purchase, or making it hard to tell paid advertisements apart from the actual content you’re looking for. 

Subscription traps
Businesses that purposefully make it very difficult for you to cancel an online subscription, especially after a free trial.

Discriminatory pricing
Businesses charging you higher prices for a product or service based on the personal information they collected about you online.

High-pressure sales tactics
Businesses using aggressive sales techniques like cold calling, time-sensitive offers or sending high-pressure sales people to your door.


Currently, our consumer laws ban unconscionable conduct, misleading and deceptive conduct and unfair contract terms. But at the moment there’s nothing to specifically discourage businesses from treating customers unfairly and doing things that just wouldn’t pass the pub test. A lot of the ways that businesses treat consumers poorly fall through the cracks, because they don’t meet the high bar of unconscionable conduct and aren’t technically misleading or deceptive. 

Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world on this important reform and we need to catch up. Many other similar jurisdictions around the world - like Singapore, the UK, the EU, and the US - have laws against unfair trading.  Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC, has also voiced its support for a ban on unfair trading to stop consumers being harmed by business practices like deceptive patterns online. 

It’s important that a ban on unfair practices comes with strong, enforceable penalties to encourage businesses to do the right thing, and hold those that don’t to account. 

A ban on unfair practices would target business practices that are unfair by design. It’s also important that the law is broad enough that it can tackle new problems as they emerge, rather than having to play catch up.

Here’s just some of the unfair practices we think the law should cover:

- Making it very difficult for you to cancel an online subscription, especially after a free trial

- Bundling products or services in a way that prevents price comparison

- Forcing you to use a complicated system or taking advantage of a lack of digital or financial literacy

- Aggressive sales techniques such as cold calling, time-sensitive offers or sending high-pressure sales people to your door

- Being charged a different price to others depending on what an online algorithm says

- Being unable to contact a businesses, especially by phone

- Lock in contracts with excessive penalties

- Aggressive online marketing such as fake countdowns

- Being charged higher prices based on information collected about you online

Learn More Campaign Anchor

Learn more

Error Modal Container
Scripts Block