The Australian Group Buying Code of Conduct has been jointly released by the Australian Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) and the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA).

This comes after group buying sites Cudo and Spreets teamed up mid-year to develop a framework for the Code.

The voluntary Code has been developed to ensure that consumers have access to products and service information they need to make informed choice; to promote compliance within the industry to relevant laws; promote ethical practice within the industry; and increase consumer confidence in dealing with the group buying platforms.

John Butterworth, CEO AIMIA, said: "Australian consumers are clearly enthusiastic about group buying deals. As a comparatively new industry it's essential that we move as quickly as possible to implement measures that make group buying a rewarding and successful experience for consumers, merchants and group buying platforms alike. The Code has been developed by the industry associations to help establish group buying as a mainstream channel."

The Australian Group Buying Code of Conduct includes an independent, transparent and open complaint-handling process when consumers have been unable to resolve an issue with a group buying company in the first instance.

The complaint process has been designed to encourage the group buying industry to resolve established consumer complaints. The complaint handling process will be managed by the ADMA Code Authority.

Founding signatories to the code of conduct include Cudo, Groupon, Jump On It, LivingSocial, Ouffer, Spreets, OurDeal and Scoopon.

Billy Tucker, CEO of Cudo, said: "We are ecstatic to be a founding signatory of the Group Buying Industry Code of Conduct. Our business has grown rapidly and the Code is essential to not only protect our industry, but merchants and customers alike. We welcome this initiative and whole heartedly support it."

In addition to the code, signatories are taking additional steps to reinforce with merchants their obligations under the law.

Now that the code has been launched, industry will be turning its attention to incorporating the Australian Group Buying Code of Conduct into the existing ADMA Code of Practice.