New consumer law guidance on fundraising

A new guide will provide charities, fundraisers and not-for-profits much-needed clarity on how Australian consumer law applies to fundraising activities, minister for small business Michael McCormack says.

‘The guidance … contains a simple message for the sector: be transparent, truthful and fair when fundraising,’ Mr McCormack said. ‘If you are upfront and honest, then your fundraising activities are unlikely to raise concerns under […] Australian Consumer Law (ACL).’

‘When charities, fundraisers and not-for-profits better understand their obligations in providing goods and services this gives consumers confidence.’

A guide to Australian consumer law – For fundraising and other activities of charities clarifies that if fundraising and other activities are carried out in a business-like way obligations not to mislead or to act unconscionably will apply.

Mr McCormack said that the guide, which state and federal regulators developed as a priority at the request of consumer-affairs ministers, followed a recent review of ACL.

Legislation will be introduced into parliament early in 2018 to increase maximum financial penalties available under ACL from $1.1 million for companies to the greater of $10 million, three times the value of the benefit from breaching the law, or 10 per cent of the company’s turnover in the year preceding the breach.

The guide is available at https://consumerlaw.gov.au/fundraising.

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