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Unfair contract terms now underway

Small business owners are now protected from unfair terms in standard form contracts by a new law introduced 12 November 2016.

A standard form contract is one that has been prepared by one party to the contract and where the other party has little or no opportunity to negotiate the terms. Small businesses enter into and renew standard form contracts regularly, especially between large suppliers such as lenders, insurance companies and telecommunications.

The new law will apply to a standard form contract entered into or renewed on or after 12 November 2016, where:

Under the new law, a contract’s terms may be considered unfair if:

From 12 November 2016, small businesses will have a higher level of protection so business owners should carefully review all terms of any contracts they enter into. If you believe the terms of a standard form contract are unfair, ask the other party to remove the term or amend it so it is no longer unfair. For those businesses drafting a standard form contract, be sure to carefully review your terms and, if in doubt, seek professional advice.

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