In this paper, we provide an overview of consumer credit protection law and regulation in Australia and an analysis of the interaction between the regimes. We focus on three types of credit products; home loans, credit cards and car loans and on the credit specific provisions in the NCCP Act and the NCC. We include a discussion of the more general consumer protection provisions applying to financial services and financial products in the ASIC Act. These provisions provide a ‘safety-net’ response to issues not adequately addressed by the credit specific legislation. The statutory regime applying to consumer credit provides the major enforcement tool for the regulator in this context, the Australian Companies and Securities Commission (ASIC).
In this paper, we also discuss what might be termed ‘soft law’ options for regulating consumer credit: industry codes, ASIC guides and external dispute resolution (EDR) schemes. While these regimes do not have the same force as general law and legislation, from the perspective of many consumers they are central to the consumer credit protection regime and to practical redress.