Small business

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Business names

Business name registration, updates and renewals are administered by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

For more information, visit Business names - ASIC.

Business InfoLine - 1300 098 631

Call this line for information and advice on consumer protections that apply to your business, or to report a small business scam.

Calling our Helplines costs the same as a local call. Additional charges may apply from mobile or payphones.

Submit query online

General enquiry form

Business hours

9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays)

Small business email newsletter

Our small business email newsletter provides information to help you run your business and comply with the law, including:

  • changes to the law that may affect you
  • tips to help protect your business from scams.

Subscribe to our small business newsletter

Australian Consumer Law

The Australian Consumer Law commenced on 1 January 2011. This law made business easier, because your rights and responsibilities as a small business are the same, no matter where you operate in Australia.

Under this law, you automatically give certain ‘consumer guarantees’ when you sell goods or services to consumers – regardless of any other warranty. View Guarantees that apply automatically.

Your business is also a consumer and protected by these same consumer guarantees, if it buys: 

  • goods or services that cost up to $100,000 
  • goods or services that cost more than $100,000 and are of a kind ordinarily acquired for domestic, household or personal use or consumption
  • a vehicle or trailer primarily used to transport goods on public roads.

However, the consumer guarantees will not apply if your business buys goods to resell or transform into a product to sell.

For example:

If your business buys a printer that costs up to $40,000 for use in the business, it can rely on the consumer guarantees if there is a problem. But if your business bought the printer to resell to consumers, it cannot rely on the consumer guarantees.

Unfair contract terms

Amendments to unfair contract terms legislation came into effect in 2016 to protect small businesses which are offered standard form contracts by another business - that is, contracts prepared by the other business and offered on a 'take it or leave it' basis.

For more information, visit the Unfair contract terms - ACCC.

The Australian Consumer Law bans businesses from proposing, using, or relying on unfair contract terms in standard form contracts with consumers and small businesses. Penalties can be as high as:

  • $50 million for businesses
  • $2.5 million for individuals.

Guides to the Australian Consumer Law

For more information about rights and responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law, view fair trading information in Products and services.

There is a series of guides to the new law for business and legal practitioners. For more information, view Australian Consumer Law resources.

Retailer toolkit

This free kit includes refund and lay-by policy posters for display in your business. For more information, view Australian Consumer Law resources.

Resolve a dispute

Resolve a dispute with another business

We may be able to help you resolve a dispute with another business, if your business is entitled to consumer protections under the Australian Consumer Law.

Call our Business InfoLine on 1300 098 631 or contact us using our general enquiry form.

Resolve a dispute with a customer

For information to help you handle customer complaints or resolve a dispute with a customer, view Handling complaints.

Scams targeting businesses

Many small businesses are targeted by scammers. For advice on how to avoid being scammed, view Small business scams.

To report a small business scam, call our Business InfoLine on 1300 098 631 or contact us using our general enquiry form.

Product safety

Businesses that import or sell products must ensure those items meet mandatory safety standards and are not subject to ban orders.

There are tough penalties for anyone who fails to comply with product safety requirements. The maximum civil pecuniary and criminal penalties for a body corporate are the greater of:

  • $10 million, or
  • three times the value of the benefit obtained from the offence, or act or omission, by the body corporate and any related bodies corporate if the benefit obtained can be determined by the court, or
  • if the court cannot determine the value of the benefit, 10 per cent of the annual turnover of the body corporate.

The maximum penalty for a person is $500,000.

For more information, view our Product safety section or the Product Safety Australia website.

Group buying and daily deals

Businesses thinking about offering such deals need to be aware of the potential demands and risks. For more information, view Group buying and daily deals.

Licensing and registration

We can help you register, license and comply with laws if your small business is one that we regulate. These include:

Advice in a disaster: business recovery

We can help with business recovery in a disaster, such as a storm, flood, bushfire or earthquake. For more information, view Advice in a disaster: business recovery.