Cooling off rights in residential land transactions - Too much form, too little substance?

Christensen, Sharon A., Dixon, William M., & Duncan, William D. (2007) Cooling off rights in residential land transactions - Too much form, too little substance? Competition and Consumer Law Journal, 15(2), pp. 217-241.

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Abstract

Residential conveyancing is one of the most regulated consumer transactions in Australia with innumerable statutes nationally aimed at the regulation of the transaction or parties to it. Commonly these statutes employ a variety of mechanisms such as vendor disclosure statements, cooling off rights and implied warranties all aimed at redressing the perceived information imbalance between buyers and sellers. Although the mechanisms are similar, all states and the Australian Capital Territory except Western Australia and the Northern Territory employ the statutory mechanisms in different combinations and ways.This is evident in the area of cooling off periods which vary in length, starting point and regulatory complexity across all relevant jurisdictions. These parochial differences are commonly recognised as increasing compliance costs for businesses operating nationally with little or no research emerging as to the consumer benefits from the regulation. Through a comparative analysis of cooling off regulation in each participating jurisdiction, the article suggests that increasing the complexity of regulation creates an imbalance in the relationship allowing the consumer to take advantage of a seller's technical non-compliance despite the fact the buyer is receiving substantially what was bargained for. The article concludes by suggesting considerations for achieving a degree of regulatory equilibrium between buyers and sellers under cooling off legislation which should satisfy the interests of sellers while meeting consumer protection objectives for the buyer.

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ID Code: 19422
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1039-5598
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Lexis Nexis
Deposited On: 02 Apr 2009 05:01
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:32

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