At one point, you will have read or heard the media refer to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (the ACCC), or Australia’s “competition watchdog.” The ACCC expends a significant amount of its time and energy towards regulating the activities of big businesses and ensuring they compete fairly. It also, however, plays an important role protecting consumers. In this six-part series, we comprehensively explore the relevant issues to advertising and marketing businesses, first beginning with what is the Australian Consumer Law, and why is it necessary.

What Does the ACCC Do?

The ACCC enforces the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (“CCA”). Under Section 2 of the CCA, its stated objective is to enhance the welfare of Australians by promoting competition and fair trading and providing for consumer protection.

Schedule 2 of the Act is called the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). Importantly, consumers benefit from parts of the CCA prohibiting anti-competitive conduct in the marketplace. Also, Part IVB which provides for industry codes operates ultimately for the consumers’ benefit.

Section 18: Misleading and Deceptive Conduct

Section 18 of the ACL prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct by corporations. Although the ACL is a comprehensive and lengthy statute, one-quarter of complaints lodged by the ACCC relate to alleged breaches of these two lines. Section 18 is then by far the most notorious provision contained in the CCA, both in terms of public familiarity and the volume of litigation. This section is designed to protect consumers, however, it is noteworthy that competitors more commonly invoke its use.

The two most encountered sections of the ACL are as follows:

  • Chapter 2 outlining General Protections including misleading and deceptive conduct, unconscionable conduct and unfair contract terms, and
  • Chapter 3 outlining unfair practices, consumer transactions, product safety, information standards and manufacturer’s liability.

Advertising, with the misuse of fine print and deceptive pricing, continues to be an enforcement priority when contemplating consumer protection. Misleading and Deceptive conduct in advertising then becomes a particular focus. In this series, we unpack unfair practices, particularly misleading and deceptive conduct in advertising, selling and marketing. We will turn to consider what is illegal in advertising and marketing in our next article.


Should you have any questions in the meantime, or require advice about advertising and marketing law, please get in touch! LegalVision’s experienced team of commercial lawyers would be delighted to assist.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.
Catherine Logan

Get a Free Quote Now

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • We will be in touch shortly with a quote. By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy