Ride or accommodation sharing

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.

Transcript – the sharing economy – introduction (DOC 13KB)

Consumers – If you buy goods and services

Your rights don’t change if you hire goods or buy services online, through an app or sharing platform, or if you make in-store purchases. You have consumer guarantee rights.

If there is a problem:

  • Check the platform’s terms and conditions and their complaint management process, if they have one.
  • You may be able to cancel the contract and get a refund if a consumer guarantee isn’t met

Follow these simple steps to resolve the issue:

  • speak to the seller or service provider
  • contact the platform through their internal dispute resolution process, if they have one
  • write a factual customer review and rate the trader on the platform
  • contact Consumer and Business Services for advice if the matter isn’t resolved with the platform and/or trader.

Transcript – the sharing economy – remedies (DOC 13KB)

Transcript – the sharing economy – cancellations (DOC 13KB)

Transcript – the sharing economy – disputes (DOC 13KB)

Traders – If you hire or sell goods and services

Your rights:

  • platform operators must not mislead or deceive you
  • you have consumer guarantee rights when buying services from a platform operator
  • 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.

Contact Consumer and Business Services for advice if you aren’t able to resolve a problem with the platform or consumer first.

 Your obligations

  • Be transparent about the product or service you are advertising so there are no surprises to consumers
  • Avoid misleading or deceptive statements
  • Make sure reviews provided about your service or product are not misleading or fake
  • You must comply with product safety obligations.

Transcript – the sharing economy – advertising (DOC 13KB)

Transcript – the sharing economy – reviews (DOC 13KB)


Product safety standard on portable ethanol burners – CBS news

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.

Retailers and suppliers can go to the ACCC’s product safety website to get further information on the new safety standard.

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.

Read the national media release – Safety standard for ethanol burners (PDF 113KB)


It’s OK to walk away – CBS news

It's ok to walk away image

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.

Lyrics – It’s ok to walk away (PDF)


Before you dive in to the post-Christmas sales

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.


Safe summer

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.

For more summer safety information visit productsafety.gov.au/safesummer.


Know your rights when buying disability goods and services

The Australian Consumer Law provides protections to ensure you get what you pay for when buying goods and services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

When shopping around, you have the right to ask for what you want, take your time, ask questions, be treated fairly and receive accurate information.

Transcript of video

Consumer guarantees

When you buy products or services, by law, the business guarantees that:

  • products are safe, work correctly and meet promises made about the condition, performance and quality.
  • services will be provided with acceptable care and skill, will give the results as agreed, and will be carried out within a reasonable time.

If a guarantee is not met

  • If one of these consumer guarantees is not met, you have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund.
  • These rights apply regardless of whether you buy something in-store, online, at home or over the phone.
  • If you have a problem with a product or service you should first contact the business you bought it from. If they refuse to help, contact Consumer and Business Services on 131 882.

For more information

Guides are available to help consumers with disability understand their rights under the law. You can read these guides by visiting http://www.accc.gov.au/disabilityresources


Top tips for music festival ticket buyers

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.

Top tips:

  1. Do your research – know your rights.
  2. Buy from a reputable ticket seller – read reviews online and talk to your friends and family.
  3. Read the terms and conditions before you buy tickets.
  4. Buy tickets online through a secure website (look for the https)
  5. 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.

For further information visit consumerlaw.gov.au/MusicFestivals or contact Consumer and Business Services on 131 882.

 

 


When using a ladder, make safety matter

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.

See their stories:

Video link - Mick Recovering from ladder fall Video link - John cares for his father after a ladder fall

Video – Mick recovering from ladder fall                 Video – John cares for his father after a fall

Video link - Paul Recovering from ladder fall injuries Video link - Dr. Owen Roodenburg Deputy Director ICU / Head of Trauma ICU, Alfred Hospital

Video – Paul recovering from ladder fall                 Dr. Owen Roodenburg, Head of Trauma ICU

Instead of charging ahead with a job it is best to:

  • Choose the right ladder for the job
  • Don’t work in wet or windy conditions
  • Take time to set up your ladder
  • Have another person hold the ladder
  • Know your limits and work to your ability.

ladder safety graphic - in one year in Australia 1668 people aged 65+ were hospitalised because of ladder falls

The campaign is a joint initiative of Australia’s consumer protection agencies, including Consumer and Business Services in SA and the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information visit www.productsafety.gov.au/laddersafetymatters


Wise up to Scams

$229 million in scam losses in 2015

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.

For more information about Fraud Week visit https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/fraudweek2016