Course Title: Consumer protection law

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: LAW5197

Course Title: Consumer protection law

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact : Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 5944

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 51

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process and  VU20108 Law of Contract

Course Description

To enable the learner to identify, examine areas of the law which relate to consumers, sellers and manufacturers as skills relevant to working in a legal office, a Legal Aid provider, government department, financial institution or other area dealing with consumers, suppliers of goods or services or manufacturers.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20121 Consumer protection law

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcome 1 - Analyse and assess the need for consumer protection and outline the areas covered by consumer protection laws.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Define the term “consumer” and identify persons who may be considered consumers.
1.2 Determine and discuss the factors that result in consumers requiring legal protection.
1.3 Assess the areas of conduct regulated by consumer protection laws.
1.4 Analyse the relationship between Commonwealth and State consumer protection laws.

Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse and evaluate the legislative controls on unconscionable conduct, misleading or deceptive conduct, false or misleading representations and other unfair practices under Part V Division 1 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth), Part 2 and Part 2B of the Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic).
Assessment criteria
2.1 Analyse the circumstances amounting to unconscionable conduct.
2.2 Analyse the liability for misleading and deceptive conduct.
2.3 Analyse the circumstances amounting to ‘false or misleading representation’, and determine the legal consequences that apply.
2.4 Determine other types of unfair practices prohibited.
2.5 Evaluate unfair terms in consumer contracts with reference to the definition of ‘unfair term’ and consequences of unfair terms in consumer contracts.
2.6 Analyse and evaluate the various penalties imposed and remedies available under the legislation. Analyse and compare a specific remedy penalty to a relevant case example.

Learning Outcome 3 - Analyse and assess the legal obligations of a supplier of goods or services and specify the use of exclusion clauses in relation to case study material.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Assess the implications of the law of contract for the sale of goods and services, with specific reference to terms and representations, conditions, warranties and implied terms.
3.2 Evaluate the use of exclusion clauses, including the requirements in relation to notice and the rules relating to interpretation of clauses.
3.3 Analyse Part V Division 2 of the Trade Practice Act 1974 and Part 2A of the Fair Trading Act 1999 with specific reference to the definition of consumer, implied terms relating to the supply of goods, and implied terms relating to the supply of services and remedies.
3.4 Analyse Part I of the Goods Act 1958, with specific reference to the definition of a sale of goods, rules as to delivery of goods, remedies and transfer of ownership.

Learning Outcome 4 - Analyse and assess the obligations of manufacturers and the rights of consumers to compensation under the law of tort and the Trade Practices Act 1974 in relation to faulty products.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Analyse the situations in which a manufacturer can be liable for a faulty product under the law of torts.
4.2 Assess Part V, Division 2A of the Trade Practices Act 1974, with specific reference to persons entitled to compensation, types of goods covered, definition of manufacturer and circumstances in which rights to compensation arise.
4.3 Determine the grounds on which a consumer is entitled to compensation under the Act.
4.4 Determine and consider any exclusions from the right to compensation and limitation of liability.
4.5 Assess the sellers indemnity from the manufacturer.

Learning Outcome 5 - Analyse and outline the liability of manufacturers for unsafe products under Part VA of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Determine and specify the reasons why Part VA of the Trade Practices Act 1974 was enacted.
5.2 Outline the circumstances under which a manufacturer is liable with specific reference to definition of manufacturer and situation where manufacturer is unknown.
5.3 Analyse the circumstances under which goods will be found defective, with specific reference to definition of defect and circumstances to be taken into account.
5.4 Determine and specify the types of injury loss or damage for which a manufacturer may be liable.
5.5 Outline the defences available to a manufacturer.
5.6 Assess the time limits on claims for compensation.

Learning Outcome 6 - Analyse legislation improving product safety and product information standards.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Analyse the reasons for imposing product safety and product information standards.
6.2 Determine the product safety and product information scheme established under Part V Division 1A of the Trade Practices Act 1974 and Part 3 of the Fair Trading Act 1999 with specific reference to Minister responsible and Administration of the scheme.
6.3 Identify and specify the powers of the Minister.
6.4 Evaluate the requirements in relation to publication of draft notices and conferences, with specific reference to advertisements or notice to suppliers, conferences and situation where goods are declared ‘dangerous’.
6.5 Identify and outline the consequences of failing to comply with a product safety notice, with specific reference to offences and civil actions.
6.6 Determine the authority conferred by Part V Division 1A of the Trade Practices Act 1974 to make regulations prescribing product safety.
6.7 Demonstrate the powers conferred by Part 3 of the Fair Trading Act 1999(Vic) in relation to product safety with specific reference to interim orders, permanent orders and product safety regulations.

Learning Outcome 7 - Identify and analyse the types of credit available, their relative advantages and disadvantages, and the requirements on the part of the credit provider and the consumer.
Assessment criteria
7.1 Identify types of consumer credit, evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of each.
7.2 Analyse the provisions of the Consumer Credit Code.
7.3 Analyse, in relation to case study material, the provision of security for credit by a mortgage over goods.
7.4 Determine and specify, in relation to case study material, the courses of action open to a consumer if the consumer fails or is unable to repay credit.

Learning Outcome 8 - Analyse and evaluate the bodies available to protect the rights of the consumer and discuss their operations.
Assessment criteria
8.1 Outline the composition and operations of Consumer Affairs Victoria (Vic) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Cth) with reference to areas covered and services provided.
8.2 Analyse the composition and jurisdiction of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ; VCAT
8.3 Evaluate the process of making a relevant claim through the VCAT, using relevant case study material.
8.4 Analyse the relevant provisions of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998(Vic) & Fair Trading Act 1999 (Vic) with specific reference to the tribunal, its areas of operation, procedure and orders.

Details of Learning Activities

Students will study Consumer Protection law and theory in class sessions and through prescribed exercises and assessment work. These concepts will also be explored through the investigation of appropriate real world and simulated environments. Teaching will take place in the classroom using lectures and tutorials.

Teaching Schedule

Week beginningTopicsAssessment
Week 1 – 6 Feb
Consumers and consumerism - Historical development 
Week 2 – 13 Feb
Structure of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 
Week 3 – 20 Feb
Role and effect of exclusion clauses. The concept of  supply chain liability 
Week 4 – 27 Feb
Obligations of suppliers of goods and services under tort law and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 
Week 5 – 5 March
Obligations of suppliers of goods and services <font size="2">- Continued</font> 
Week 6 – 12 March
Controls in unsolicited sales and unfair sales techniques. 
 Week 7 – 19 March
 Liability of manufacturers for faulty and unsafe goods 
Week 8 – 26 March

   First test 

 30% open book
 Week 9 - 5 to 11 April
 Student vacation 
 Week 10 - 16 April
Product recall, safety standards, bans and notices  
 Week 11– 23 April
 Product safety and product information  
Week 12-  30 Arril
Product safety and product information 
 Week 13 –  7 May E<font size="2">nforcement of consumer protection laws</font> 
 Week 14 – 14 May
 Consumer credit 
 Week 15 – 21 May
Consumer protection bodies and review 
 Week 16 – 28 May
 Final exam week 60% Open book
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    Assessment details

   Class participation 10%

   Test 1 30% Open Book. Short answer, multiple choice, and case study questions.

    Final exam  60% Open book. Short answer, multiple choice and case study questions.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

The Australian Consumer Law. Corones. First edition, Thompson Reuters Lawbook co.



Other Resources

Other Texts containing some Consumer Protection Law materials: 
Barron & Fletcher, Fundamentals of Business Law, Mc Graw Hill.
Clark B and Sweeney B, Marketing and the Law  LexisNexis Butterworths Latest edition
Gibson A and Fraser D, Business Law  Sydney: Prentice Hall 2008 
Gillies, P. Business Law
Latimer, P. Australian Business Law 
Sweeney, B. & O’Reilly, J. Law in Commerce
Turner, C. Australian Commercial Law
Vermeesch, RB. & Lindgren, KE. Business Law of Australia
Vickery, R. & Pendleton, W. Australian Business Law

Legislation (all legislation is available free on line via
Small Claims Act 1973 (Vic)
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 (Vic)

Online Resources

Australian Legal Sites (
Austlii (
CCH Online ( (Access via RMIT library Search it)
Australian Contract Law Reporter
Australian Torts Reporter
Australian Trade Practices Reporter
ComLaw (
Consumer Affairs Victoria (
LexisNexis AU ( (Access via Search it)
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (
Victorian Law Today (

Overview of Assessment

Assessment methods have been designed to measure achievement of the requirements in a flexible manner over a range of assessment tasks, for example:

• tests/final examination
• assignments
• projects
• presentations
• case studies

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant curriculum standards are being met. Students will be provided with feedback throughout the course to check their progress.

Assessment Tasks

One open book test of 30% and a final open book exam of  60% respectively, with a maximum of 10% for in class response to pre prepared questions and in class participation..

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Please note that deferred tests will not be granted automatically. If you are unwell or for some other reason have difficulty attending at your allocated test time, you should contact the Special Consideration Unit.

You must bring a photo ID to the exams. If you present for the test without a photo ID you will be required to sign a declaration and later confirm their identity with the lecturer-in-charge (by appointment). Failure to do this will result in a zero mark for the test.

Assignment Submission Procedure
All assignments must be submitted online through the course Blackboard. They must be accompanied by an assignment cover sheet and submitted though Tunitin, a plagiarism checking tool. For information on Turnitin see;
Student FAQ,
Student procedures and account setup (pdf),
Turnitin student information page,
Turnitin will assess your work in approximately one minute, and return a colour coded response for the originality of the text.
Penalties for late submission
All assignments will be marked as if submitted on time but the mark awarded will be reduced by 10% for each day (or part of a day) it is late
Assignments that are late by 7 days or more will not be marked and will be awarded zero marks

Marking Criteria
Unless otherwise advised by teaching staff, grades for written work will be awarded on the following basis:
Fail (NN):
The submitted/presented work does not meet the criteria set for the negotiated tasks
Pass (PA) 50-59%:
The submitted/presented work meets the criteria provided set for the negotiated tasks including compliance with academic conventions concerning the proper acknowledgment of information sources (including page numbers) and an awareness of relevant substantive issues. This includes clear evidence of wide reading and comprehension of substantive issues.
Credit (CR) 60-69%:
In addition to satisfying the conditions for a pass, the submitted/presented work shows evidence of the ability to engage in complex qualitative research, sensitivity to and understanding of the substantive area and its significance, the ability to comprehend relevant theoretical ideas, and a thorough appreciation of contemporary literature relevant to the chosen topic area.
Distinction (DI) 70-79%:
In addition to satisfying the conditions for a credit, the submitted/presented work shows perceptive analysis of relevant material beyond that covered in the class, the ability to engage in complex qualitative research, and applies extensive and relevant professional and theoretical reading critically in its discussion. The submitted/presented work presents a convincing and logically constructed argument that is cogent and coherent. Further, commentaries on published academic works or summaries thereof are kept to a minimum.
High Distinction (HD) 80%:
In addition to satisfying the conditions for a distinction, the submitted/ presented work shows evidence of high order critical analysis and insightful use of wide and relevant theoretical reading as well as thorough attention to preparation, and presentation. The submitted/presented work demonstrates the capacity to argue independently of relevant published academic work without abandoning the requirement to acknowledge all sources of information and opinion.

Changes to assessment scheme; Changes to the method of assessment described above may be made with the documented consent of 70% of students enrolled in the course. Students will receive written notification of any such changes.

Borderline policy
All borderline fail assignments and examination papers will be marked by a second examiner. Assessment within 5% of the pass mark is considered to be borderline for this purpose. Students who are dissatisfied with their assessment outcomes have the right to clarification from the School of how their assessment was determined

Feedback will be provided throughout the semester in class and/or online discussions. Individual and group feedback on specified learning activities and by individual consultation as required. You are encouraged to ask and answer questions during the lecture and tutorials so that you can obtain feedback on your understanding of the concepts and issues being discussed. Finally, you can email your tutor or arrange an appointment with the lecturer to gain more feedback on your progress. You should take note of all feedback received and use this information to improve your learning outcomes and final performance in the course.

Written Reports and Essays:
Students should consult the Guidelines for Referencing and Presentation in RMIT Business. This document is the standard RMIT Business reference for Higher Education and TAFE students.
In addition to these resources, RMIT provides academic skills support and resources through the Study and Learning Centre ( ) and the library ( ).

Other Relevant Information Amongst other services provided to students at RMIT, students enrolled in Business Computing may seek assistance from the Study and Learning Centre and the Student Learning Advisor Mentors(SLAMS) .

Plagiarism is defined (RMIT University 2003a) as stealing somebody’s intellectual property (IP) by presenting their work, thoughts or ideas as though they are your own. It is cheating. It is a serious academic offence and can lead to expulsion from RMIT. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data, and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited.
Examples of plagiarism include:
• Copying sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from one or more sources, whether published or unpublished, which could include but is not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc. without proper citation;
• Closely paraphrasing sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation;
• Piecing together text from one or more sources and adding only linking sentences;
• Copying or submitting whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source;
• Copying designs or works of art and submitting them as your original work;
• Copying a whole or any part of another student’s work;
• Submitting work as your own that someone else has done for you; and
• Enabling plagiarism: the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work.
Advice and activities are available to help you cite and quote your sources correctly, and avoid plagiarism, see for example
Further information on academic integrity:

You may apply for Special Consideration if you believe that your academic performance has
been severely affected by illness or other serious cause outside your control. This is done by
submitting a Special Consideration form with documentary evidence at the Student Hub no
later than 48 hours after the due date or scheduled assessment. Students will be notified via
their student email account of the outcome of the application, which, if approved, can include
alternative assessment or an extension of time.

The RMIT Special Consideration in Assessment policy:
Further advice on Special Consideration: and

Course Overview: Access Course Overview