Emerging challenges in applying the Australian Consumer Law in e-commerce

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Introduction: a digital marketplace

Following the rapid evolution of the internet as a forum for marketing and transacting in recent years, a number of challenges have emerged. An inherent danger in this online trading marketplace is that consumers are increasingly exposed to unethical and misleading marketing strategies. A 2014 government report noted that Australian online shopping expenditure increased by 17.6% from 2011 to 2014 and is projected to reach $26.9 billion by 2016.1 While the changing business environment has notably benefited Australian enterprises, there has been a lack of focus by the business sector on creating consumer trust in e-commerce. Moreover, many businesses are guilty of flagrant breaches of the Australian Consumer Law2 (ACL) in their activities on websites and in social media. Consequently, the ways in which companies advertise and sell their products on the internet, and the kinds of promises and claims that accompany online marketing, are continuously being scrutinised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and have been addressed in a number of court decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Media, Technology and Communications Law Bulletin
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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