Lack of readiness can mean court

BUSINESSES failing to come to terms with the Y2K problem could find themselves in legal trouble.

According to the Department of Commerce and Trade’s Millennium Bug Buster booklet, legal liability can result from any equipment and business failures.

Businesses may find themselves liable under Occupational Health Legislation, liable for physical damage under the law of negligence, liable for economic loss under the law of negligence, liable for breach of contract and liable under Trade Practices Law.

Businesses could be charged under the Trade Practices Act with misleading or deceptive conduct, false representations as to the quality or standard of goods or services, manufacturer’s liability for goods not reasonably fit for the purposes for which acquired and manufacturer’s liability for goods not of merchantable quality.

The business proprietor, CEO or company directors could all find themselves liable for Y2K effects.

However, the Federal Government has brought in the Year 2000 Information Disclosure Act, otherwise known as the ‘Good Samaritan’ Act.

The Act encourages the voluntary disclosure and exchange of information by businesses of their Year 2000 preparedness.

It does this by protecting the maker of a Year 2000 disclosure statement from civil liability for making and content of that statement – in certain circumstances.

The act does not protect companies that make reckless or deliberately incorrect statements.

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