Unconscionable Conduct and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers : Research Report


This research was undertaken in response to ongoing complaints received by the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (ICAN) about traders behaving unfairly and unconscionably in their dealings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Northern Queensland. In particular, it was apparent that certain traders would deliberately set about targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in regional centres and in remote communities, with a view to entering into unfair contracts and engaging in unconscionable dealings with them. Factors leading to vulnerability include language, the tendency for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to answer ‘yes’ to questions, the lack of information and advocacy services in remote areas, and lower levels of financial literacy attributable to distance. The research project analysed court cases and interviewed ICAN clients to identify key issues, with a view to strengthening the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the financial, consumer and commercial arenas.

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