The Trade Practices Act, which has been in place since 1974, has been renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The new Act, which came into force on 1 January 2011, incorporates a number of consumer protection provisions which will be monitored by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Acting ACCC chairman Dr Michael Schaper said the new consumer protections, which apply to unfair selling practices and unsafe products, provide a more effective means of ensuring unsafe products are not sold to consumers.
The Act incorporates the new Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which provides for a number statutory guarantees, including that goods must be of an acceptable quality and that services must be carried out with due care and skill.
"If a good or service does not meet the consumer guarantee, then a consumer has rights to a remedy - for example a refund, replacement or repair, or having unsatisfactory service performed again - depending on the circumstances," Dr Schaper said.
The ACL brings together a number of national, state and territory consumer laws.
The Competition and Consumer Act also gives more powers to the ACCC to enter, search and seize the property of businesses, and to gather information and issue infringement notices.
Like this story? Read more: