If you buy or hire goods and services through an online marketplace or sharing economy platform, you are protected by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), in the same way as you would be if you were to buy in store.
Traders are protected by the ACL and also have obligations to consumers, like guaranteeing that the services and goods they’re providing comply with the law.
there are certain circumstances where it is illegal for a platform operator to refuse to supply you
you can refuse to provide a refund if the consumer has simply changed their mind.
If you believe a consumer has not held up their end of a contract for a good or service, some platforms have their own internal resolution process to deal with this. Read your platform’s community rules and internal resolution process guidelines.
In March 2017 Federal Small Business Minister Michael McCormack imposed a national interim ban to prevent the supply of certain types of decorative alcohol-fuelled devices, also known as ethanol burners.
It was implemented after serious injuries were reported, raising concerns about their safety.
The national interim ban comes to an end on 14 July 2017, and will be replaced by a safety standard from 15 July 2017.
The new safety standard:
prevents the supply of table top devices (devices which weigh less than 8 kilograms or have a footprint less than 900 square centimetres); and
requires freestanding and fixed devices to meet a stability test, come with a fuel container with a flame arrester (or an automatic fuel pump system) and display warnings on the device about refuelling hazards.
Products intended for cooking or heating are exempt from the safety standard.
The safety standard gives device suppliers three months to transition from the national interim ban to the new requirements in the safety standard.
Mr McCormack noted that some suppliers of safe devices are intending to develop a voluntary standard with Standards Australia which will provide additional protections for consumers, a move that is welcomed and strongly supported.
Consumers seeking to purchase decorative alcohol-fuelled devices should check that the device complies with the safety standard.
Those concerned about products they have previously purchased should visit the Product Safety Australia website for information about the safety standard, consumer rights and how to use burners safely.
If a person approaches you to sell you something, it’s OK to walk away. If they come up to you in a shopping centre, in a car park, or they knock on your door at home, it’s OK to say no.
The seller might offer you a free gift, like an electronic tablet or a t-shirt. Or they might offer a payment plan to spread out the payments. But think about whether you really want or need what they are selling. Maybe you can get a better deal if you look online or visit a store.
If the seller is really pushy and doesn’t want you to take time to think about the offer, then they care more about making a sale than what is best for you.
If you don’t want salespeople coming to you home you can put a ‘Do Not Knock’ sticker on your front door. The stickers are free. Order online or call 131 882 to request a copy.
Salespeople who ignore a Do Not Knock sticker are breaking the law and may face a fine of up to $50,000.
If you don’t want salespeople to ring you, register your phone number on the government’s Do Not Call Register. It’s free to register.
If you have already bought something or signed a contract from a dodgy seller who approached you, please call CBS on 131 882 or report online.
Before you join the crowds at the stores or jump online looking for a bargain at the post-Christmas sales, here are a few tips to help you get the best deal.
Compare deals. The retailer may promote a big discount, but how does this compare to the price at other stores? Check independent reviews, because while the price may be good, the product or retailer may be getting poor reviews.
When shopping online only visit legitimate websites. Find out about fees, delivery time frames, any restrictions, and contact details for the retailer if a problem arises. But if the retailer is based overseas it may be more difficult to seek a remedy. And before you make payment, check the payment page is secure. Look for a padlock symbol and check that the page address begins with https – with an ‘s’ for secure.
Gift cards are popular items. Be sure to check the Terms and Conditions, including the expiry date, and redeem the voucher as soon as possible.
Extended warranties for an extra fee may not necessarily give you anything extra. You automatically have rights under consumer guarantees.
You can return a sale item if a consumer guarantee has not been met. If the item is faulty, not fit for purpose, or doesn’t match the description you are entitled to a remedy – e.g. refund, repair or replacement. You will need to show ‘proof of purchase’ (e.g. receipt, order number for an online purchase). Contact the retailer, and if they don’t provide a remedy then put your request to them in writing (e.g. email or letter). If you’re not satisfied with the retailer’s response please contact CBS for advice or assistance.
Some stores will generously offer a refund or exchange for change of mind purchases, but this may not include sale items.
If you do your research, spend wisely and stick to your budget you’re much more likely to have an enjoyable experience when you dive in to the post-Christmas sales.
Summer in Australia means warmer longer days, more time outdoors, visits to the beach and weekends camping.
Here are some tips to help you and your family stay safe this summer.
Holiday accommodation – Check furniture is safe for small children. Check for toppling furniture risks, secured blind cords, and bunk beds with fixed guard rails and no dangerous gaps or protrusions.
Toys – Check for product recalls of products or Christmas gifts. Toys with small parts can be a choking hazard for children under three. Use the choke check tool to identify unsafe toys.
Trampolines – Make sure it is in good condition, the surrounding area is free from hazards (e.g. fences and garden furniture) and there is clearance above a trampoline from clotheslines, trees and wires.
Portable pools – Children can drown in portable pools. Always supervise kids.
Sunglasses – On overcast days UV can still cause damage to your eyes. Look for sunglasses labelled category 2, 3 or 4 to give your eyes the best UV protection.
Button batteries – Many products and devices use button batteries, but button batteries can cause serious injuries or death if swallowed. Check that battery compartments are secure and keep the batteries and products out of reach of young children.
Ladders – If ladders are unsafe or used incorrectly, they can cause serious injuries.
Quad bikes – These bikes can be fun, but they can also be dangerous. They are not all-terrain vehicles. Be aware of hazards. Always wear a helmet and protective clothing.
With the summer music festival season fast approaching, consumer affairs agencies are promoting some helpful advice for festival goers.
Over 45 music festivals across Australia have been cancelled since 2010 leaving consumers out of pocket. Consumer agencies cannot prevent music festival cancellations or line-up changes, and a certain amount of risk applies when you buy a ticket. But you can reduce your risk by doing a bit of research and planning ahead.
Do your research – know your rights.
Buy from a reputable ticket seller – read reviews online and talk to your friends and family.
Read the terms and conditions before you buy tickets.
Buy tickets online through a secure website (look for the https)
Like any purchase, keep all receipts and relevant information.
Under Australian Consumer Law you have rights if a business doesn’t deliver what they promised. If a festival is cancelled or there is a major change (e.g. a headlining act will not perform, or the date or venue changes) you are entitled to a full refund from the company that sold you the ticket. This is regardless of whether the terms and conditions say so.
But if you simply change your plans and decide you don’t want to attend a music festival, you don’t have any refund rights.
If you are having trouble getting a refund and you paid with a credit card or escrow agent (e.g. PayPal) then contact your credit card provider, bank or escrow to seek a chargeback.
Unfortunately things do go wrong from time to time, but with a bit of preparation ahead of time you can avoid a music festival dream becoming a nightmare.
Home maintenance tasks can give you a great sense of pride in your DIY work. But around 1,600 men aged over 65 are hospitalised each year with ladder-related injuries.
You might think a ladder accident won’t happen to you and that you know what to do and how to do it. Paul, Mick and Nick did too. Their lives were turned upside-down by split-second decisions on a ladder.
Of the 49,500 reports to the ACCC with an age provided, almost 20,000 were provided by Australians over the age of 55, with over 21 million dollars lost by this group.
In Fraud Week we are asking everyone, and especially seniors, to ‘wise up to scams’ and follow some simple advice to avoid becoming a victim.
Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions. Scammers often try to create a sense of urgency so the recipient of the call will act impulsively. They do this through short deadlines, fake emergencies or threats of legal action.
Get a second opinion. If someone requests money from you and you have any doubts, discuss it with a trusted and reliable third party.
Investment opportunities. Do not respond to emails and phone calls from strangers offering predictions on shares, investment tips, or investment advice. Always do your own research before you invest any money and check the company or scheme is licensed on ASIC’s MoneySmart website.
Dating online. Know who you’re dealing with. Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met in person. If someone approaches you on social media and you don’t know them, it may be a scam.
Cold call offering help with your computer. If you receive a call claiming to be from Microsoft, Telstra or anyone else telling you your computer has a problem, it is likely to be a scam. Never allow anyone to remotely log into your computer.
Government agency calling. Government agencies will generally write to you if you are entitled to money. If somebody calls you claiming to be from the Government offering you unexpected money, be cautious. Get enough information on the organisation and the caller and then find independent contact details so you can check the legitimacy of what you have been told.
Scam birth, death and marriage certificates. Be wary of websites that appear official but fail to deliver on promises to provide birth, death or marriage certificates in return for a fee. Whilst you may think you’re paying for a certificate, you are actually paying for information, forms or web links which are freely available from official Government websites. In some cases you may receive nothing at all.