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Sharing economy platforms 

Information for traders

The sharing economy, also known as the peer-to-peer or collaborative economy, is an online marketplace run by platform operators that connect consumers with people who have goods or services to sell, hire, rent or lease. It includes platforms like Airbnb and Uber.

Know the rules

If you are a trader using the sharing economy, it is important to remember the rules and obligations to consumers don’t change when hiring goods or buying services online, through an app or sharing platform, or if you make in-store purchases.

Tips for fair sharing:

  • customers have the right to expect the goods and services you provide comply with consumer law. Read more about your business rights and responsibilities on the Australian Consumer Law website
  • you must make sure reviews provided about your service are not misleading or fake. You could be engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct if you:
    • write a fake review
    • ask or pay someone to write a review 
    • write a false review about a competitor
    • hide bad customer reviews.
  • be transparent about the product or service you are advertising so there are no surprises to consumers
  • if a trader believes a consumer has not held up their end of a contract for a good or service, some platforms have their own internal resolution process to deal with this. Be sure to read your platform’s community rules and internal resolution process guidelines
  • you must comply with product safety obligations.

ACCC guides

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has developed guidance for sharing economy platform operators and traders to encourage compliance with competition and consumer protection laws.

The Platform Operators in the Sharing Economy guide (PDF size: 326KB) has been developed to help platform operators comply with their legal obligations. The guide provides a broad overview of these obligations and includes guiding principles to help operators ensure they are transparent, accurate and honest, have robust procedures in place and are fair in their dealings with consumers and traders.

The Sharing Economy: A guide for private traders (PDF size: 227KB) has been developed to help traders understand:

  • when the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) apply
  • the relationships involved in the supply of services in the sharing economy
  • the obligations you have to consumers
  • the obligations that platform operators have to you.

Peer-to-peer economy research findings

To better understand this rapidly growing marketplace, NSW Fair Trading commissioned research to gain insight into consumers and traders understanding of their rights and responsibilities when buying and selling goods and services in this online space. You can find out more and download a copy of the research findings on the Peer-to-peer economy page on the Fair Trading website.

What’s next?

Fair Trading is working with other ACL regulators to examine and identify possible consumer protection issues relating to the procurement of goods and services; and work to educate platforms, consumers and traders on their ACL rights and obligations when using these platforms. 

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