Unconscionable behaviour

Unconscionable behaviour does not have a precise legal definition as it is a concept that has been developed case-by-case by courts over time.

Behaviour may be unconscionable if it is particularly harsh, unreasonable or oppressive. 

It must be more than simply unfair. It must be against conscience as judged against the norms of society.

Examples of unconscionable behaviour 

Unconscionable behaviour includes any of the following:

  • not explaining a contract properly to a consumer that does not speak English well or has a learning disability
  • the use of undue influence, pressure or unfair tactics to induce someone to sign a blank or highly unfavourable contract
  • making false claims about the real cost of a loan
  • failing to explain key contractual terms.

Avoid becoming a victim

Be prepared to walk away from a deal that does not feel right - it could be an unreasonable or oppressive deal.

When making a deal you should do all of the following: 

  • ensure all commercial agreements are in writing
  • make sure you fully understand all the terms of the transaction
  • do not sign any agreements without reading them carefully
  • ask for plain language explanations and obtain independent and professional legal or financial advice if unsure
  • if you think you are being treated differently, ask why
  • do not allow yourself to be talked into a deal that is wrong for you by high pressure sales tactics - be wary of tight decision deadlines
  • look for the best deal and try to negotiate the outcome you want.

Go to the NT Consumer Affairs website for more information.

Find out more about contracts.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017