Australian Consumer Protection Legislation Essay

1632 words - 7 pages

"Governments have passed consumer protection legislation because they believe that the common law of contracts cannot adequately protect the consumer in today's complex market place."Both the Commonwealth and Queensland State governments have legislated to provide greater protection to consumers in contractual situations that would otherwise not be provided by common law. Examples of the government introducing legislation as a means of providing greater protection to consumers than common law are: The Trade and Practices Act 1974(Cth); and The Sale of Goods Act 1895(Qld).Contract law was introduced as a means of providing assurance as to the validity of an agreement, whereby both parties intend that their words or actions will have legal consequences if not carried out. To form a contract between two parties it must be shown that there is an intention from each to become legally bound, there must be a 'meeting of minds' between the 'parties', as well as consideration. There are five general rules as to an offer the first being that the offer must be communicated by the offeror to the offeree, the second being the offeror may restrict his or her offer to one person or may make his or her offer to a limited group of persons or to the world at large, the third rule states that all terms of an offer must be communicated to 'party' accepting the offer. The fourth rule states that the offeree may specify conditions to be followed, and the fifth states that an offer may be revoked at any time prior to acceptance.Similarly to an offer there are four rules which apply to the acceptance of a contract. The first rule reads that the acceptance of an offer must relate to the offer in it's entirety and cannot vary or in any way qualify that offer; the second rule is that acceptance of an offer must be made in strict conformity with the method of communication nominated by the offerer, however where no method of acceptance is stipulated, acceptance may be orally communicated. The third it that acceptance must be made in reliance of the offer and with knowledge on the part of the offeree of the offer, and the fourth states simply that acceptance must be communicated to the offeror.A contract may be set aside for many reasons e.g. the contract is void and has no legal effects concerning the parties, the contract is voidable, can be ended by one of the parties; where a party lacks the capacity to contract such as an infant. An agreement which may not be enforceable because it lacks genuine consent, where consent is the term used to describe the state of mind of each party at the moment an agreement is reached. If consent from parties participating in the contract is obtained through means of a mistake of law, a mistake of fact, misrepresentation duress, undue influence, or unconsionability, the agreement may not be enforceable due to a lack of genuine consent.If the nature of the breach of contract gives one party the right to end the contract, they may either...

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