We think you are in Victoria. If not please click 'Change'

In your state, you are required to confirm you wish to access this information. Please enter 'QLD' or 'WA' in the field below to continue.

No thanks

Misleading and deceptive conduct explained


You might have come across the phrase ‘misleading or deceptive conduct’ before, and wondered what it meant in the legal world. The answer lies in section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law:

A person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.

But where is the line drawn? When does advertising stop being merely creative and become deceptive? And what can you do if you have been led astray?

What is “conduct?”

Misleading and deceptive conduct is not limited to the supply of goods or services, but covers a wide range of business activities like advertisements and contractual arrangements. “Conduct” can also mean doing something or refusing to do something. It can include messages in advertisements, media statements, or even statements by an individual representing your business.

Was the conduct misleading or deceiving?

When deciding whether conduct falls fowl of section 18, the key question is whether an ordinary or reasonable person would have been misled or deceived by the statement.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), it doesn’t matter if the person made the false or misleading statement intentionally or not. It is also irrelevant if  the person complaining was actually misled or deceived.

One example of false and misleading claims is if your business makes inaccurate statements about the quality of your products, or the benefits of your services.

Who can be liable under section 18?

An individual or a company can be pursued under section 18 for making misleading and deceptive statements. A person making misleading statements as a representative of a business can also be liable.

What remedies are available?

There are a few different outcomes for a successful claim under section 18. A person who makes a claim may recover the losses and damages they suffered as a result of the deceptive conduct. The company or individual may also be ordered to compensate the person who brought the claim.

Ultimately, as a consumer, you have a right not to be fed false, misleading or inaccurate information about the products, services or goods you are purchasing. If you have, the Australian Consumer Law is here to make sure those responsible for leading you astray are held to account.

Written by Shine Lawyers on . Last modified: September 6, 2017.

Join the discussion

Share this article:

  • Jonathon Wilson wrote:

    I will look into this .
    Deceptive Conduct .
    My instructions were NOT Followed.
    Deceived at mediation Settlement .

  • Shine lawyers warn Apple may face class action in Australia

    Class Actions against technology juggernaut Apple have been filed across the US, following the company’s admission that it pushed out software updates to consumers that limited the performance of several Apple Devices. “There are several cases that could be brought against Apple for the iPhone 6, 6S, SE and 7 defects. In Australia, we will […]

    Read more

    TGA’s mesh ban welcomed but needs to go further

    Mesh victims and participants in the Shine Lawyers Johnson & Johnson mesh class action have welcomed news that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will ban the use of vaginal mesh implants for pelvic prolapse in Australia after finding that the risks outweigh the benefits. The TGA announced the decision following a review of clinical evidence […]

    Read more

    Shine clients share harrowing accounts with Senate Inquiry into mesh

    Shine Lawyers’ courageous Johnson & Johnson class action group members have spoken to the Senate in Sydney about the painful and life altering complications they have experienced since first receiving a Johnson & Johnson pelvic floor repair system. One of the greatest medical scandals Up to 8,000 women are thought to have suffered, and continue […]

    Read more

    Call Us Now

    Our friendly consultants are available to talk Monday to Friday, 8:15am to 6:00pm AEST.

    1800 618 851

    Live Chat

    Chat with Shine Lawyers through the livechat system without leaving your computer. No downloading, completely private and best of all - its easy to use.

    Start a live chat now

    Enquire Now

    Enquire now