Auckland, February 19, 2020
Changes to the Fair Trading Amendment Bill may become law if it passes through various stages in Parliament, the first of which was the First Reading on February 12, 2020.
The Fair Trading Amendment Bill is now being considered by the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Select Committee of Parliament.
Thereafter, it must be pass through the Second Reading in Parliament and again be vetted by the Select Committee before the Bill enters the final stage of voting.
Jennie Kerr, Manager, Competition and Consumer Policy at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), said the proposed Bill provides new protective measures for businesses and consumers against unfair commercial practices.
“The Bill introduces a prohibition against unconscionable conduct; extends the current protections against unfair contract terms in standard form consumer contracts to also apply to business-to-business trading relationships with a value below $250,000 per year; strengthens consumers’ ability to require uninvited sellers to leave or not enter their premises, including through the use of ‘Do Not Knock’ stickers,” she said.
Ms Kerr said that unfair commercial practices can include unfair contract terms (for example, terms which unduly shift risk from one party to another), make it difficult for one party to terminate a contract, allow one party to unilaterally vary the terms of a contract, or are otherwise very one-sided.
“They can also include unfair conduct outside of the terms of a contract itself, including pressure tactics to induce someone to enter into a contract, deceptive conduct, or enforcing a contract in a harsh way,” she said.