Trade Promotions: Penalties for Non-Compliance in Australia

Trade promotions are a popular marketing strategy used by businesses in Australia to attract customers and drive sales. However, it’s essential to be aware of the regulations governing these promotions, as non-compliance can lead to significant penalties. This blog post discusses the legal repercussions of non-compliance and provides essential insights for businesses.


Understanding Trade Promotions

A trade promotion competition is a free-entry competition that a business conducts to promote their goods or services.


The three elements to a trade promotion are that they are:

  1. free to enter;
  2. promoting goods or services; and
  3. conducted by a registered business.


While trade promotions are designed to create excitement and incentivise consumer participation, they must adhere to specific rules and regulations set forth by the Australian government to ensure fairness, transparency, and consumer protection.


Penalties for Non-Compliance

Each state and territory have its own penalties for not complying with their laws.

  1. Financial Penalties: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has the authority to impose substantial financial penalties on businesses that run non-compliant trade promotions. These penalties can include up to:
    • Two years imprisonment; and
    • Fines of up to $50,000
  2. Reputation Damage: Non-compliance with trade promotion regulations can severely damage your business’s reputation. Negative publicity and customer backlash can be hard to recover from, making it crucial to follow the rules meticulously.


Key Regulations to Be Aware Of 

  1. Permit Requirements: In many cases, you’ll need to obtain permits from state or territory regulatory bodies to run a trade promotion legally. Failure to do so can lead to significant fines.
  2. Terms and Conditions: You must ensure that your terms and conditions are compliant with the requirements in each state or territory. This is vital as regulators commonly refuse to issue a permit until you amend any non-compliant terms and conditions.
  3. Unfair Practices: Avoid any unfair practices, such as misleading advertising or rigged outcomes. These can result in penalties and legal actions.


Compliance Checklist

To ensure your trade promotion remains compliant with Australian regulations, consider the following:

  1. Legal Review: Consult with legal experts who specialise in trade promotion regulations to ensure your campaign is compliant from the outset.
  2. Documentation: Keep detailed records of your promotion, including permits, terms and conditions, and all communication with participants.
  3. Transparency: Be transparent with participants about how winners will be selected and what prizes are at stake. Avoid any deceptive or misleading statements.
  4. Privacy Laws: Comply with Australia’s privacy laws when collecting and handling personal information of participants.



Key takeaways

  • When conducting a trade promotion, complying with Australia’s laws is imperative
  • Non-compliant trade promotions are subject to penalties
  • Consider seeking legal advice to ensure compliance from the outset



Gladwin Legal are experts in Trade Promotions and have extensive experience in advising businesses. If you require assistance in understanding your legal obligations please contact us at or 1300 033 934.