Unique help for you
As a Protected Member of Self-Employed Australia we help you if you are faced with an unfair contract. You receive up to 50 hours of free assistance in managing an unfair contract issue.
With your approval we:
- Check your contract for unfair clauses
- Make representation to your client to fix unfair clauses
- Report your contract to authorities for action
- Coordinate with you for resolution
Without our efforts the unfair contract laws for self-employed people would not have come into operation in 2016.
Robert Gottliebsen (Business columnist for The Australian) said this (2017):
… It (unfair contract laws) would not have been possible but for the equally relentless lobbying of politicians carried out by Ken Phillips, head of Self-Employed Australia.
These Australian laws are globally unique.
You are not alone. We’re with you to stamp out unfairness.
Here’s more detail
What we will do
We know the unfair contract laws. We fought for a decade to bring the laws in.
Here’s how our service works:
You remain in control at all times
a) If you think you have an unfair contract, give us a copy. We keep this confidential. We review it and give you a report and discuss any probable unfair clauses.
b) If you want further help, you appoint us as your ‘Contract Advocate’ (The terms and conditions of this are here) Note: This requires us to keep all your information confidential and to undertake action only with your explicit approval.
c) We identify the terms in your contract that may breach the unfair contract laws. We discuss your options with you and whether you wish to proceed or not.
This can include any of the following actions based on what you approve.
- Draft a letter to the other party that you send (or)
- Draft a letter to the other party that we send which may or may not identify you, depending on your wishes. In other words, we can make representations to the other party to the contract highlighting clauses in the contract that may breach the law.
- Assist you where you have direct discussions with the other party to seek resolution (or)
- Undertake discussions with the other party seeking to have the contract reviewed/fixed.
If these efforts fail to fix the contract:
- We can prepare a complaint against the other party with any or several government authorities, including the ACCC, APRA, ASIC or State Small Business Commissioners. The complaint can be lodged by you or by us—either revealing your identify or not revealing your identity, as you determine. We discuss with you the available strategies and you decide on the action.
We have working relationships with many government authorities and know how to lodge complaints and who to deal with.
- The appropriate government authority will investigate, report and take action where they conclude that there is a breach of the unfair contract laws.
- We follow through with the government authorities as to action that can be taken and maintain liaison with you.
Note: At all times you retain control of the process.
You can proceed or stop at any time.
We are well aware that you have commercial relationships to maintain and that these are the paramount guiding consideration.
What ‘unfair’ means
It’s important to understand what ‘unfair’ means in the context of our service. The definition of ‘unfair’ is that contained in the Small Business Unfair Contract Terms Act 2015: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2015A00147/Html/Text
The Act covers:
- Standard form contracts (contracts that are imposed you on a ‘take it or leave it’ basis) between a large business and small business.
- Contracts up to $300,000 in value or $1m for a contract longer than one year.
The Act also prohibits a range of unfair contract terms. A comprehensive list of the banned terms is here and includes, for example, a contract clause that gives one party, but not the other, the ability to:
a) Avoid or limit the performance of the contract.
b) Terminate the contract.
c) Apply penalties against the other party
d) Vary the terms of the contract.
e) Renew or not renew the contract.
f) Vary the price payable under the contract without the right of the other party to terminate the contract.