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 connects consumers with people who have goods or services to sell, hire, rent or lease. It includes platforms like Airbnb and Uber.

Sharing economy videos

NSW Fair Trading has put together a series of educational videos to inform you and consumers on your rights and responsibilities in the sharing economy. They focus on five main topics including remedies, cancellations, disputes, advertising and reviews. Go to our YouTube channel to watch the videos.

Tips

Tips for fair sharing:

  • customers have the right to expect the goods and services you provide comply with consumer law. Read more about your rights and responsibilities on the Australian Consumer Law website
  • you must make sure reviews provided about your service are not misleading or fake. Misleading or deceptive conduct is:
    • writing a fake review
    • asking or paying someone to write a review
    • writing a false review about a competitor
    • hiding bad customer reviews.
  • be transparent about the product or service you are advertising so there are no surprises to consumers
  • if you believe 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 put together two guides to help everyone follow the rules when using sharing platforms.

  • The Platform Operators in the Sharing Economy guide 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 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, Fair Trading commissioned research to understand if consumers and traders know their rights and responsibilities when buying and selling goods and services in this online space. Go to the peer-to-peer economy page for more information.

What’s next?

Fair Trading is working with other ACL regulators to 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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