Gift cards and ticket scalping – CBS news

South Australian consumers will be better protected under new fair trading legislation.

The Fair Trading (Gift Cards) Amendment Bill 2018 and the Fair Trading (Ticket Scalping) Amendment Bill 2018 have now passed in parliament and provide greater consumer protections around ticket scalping and give shoppers longer periods in which to use gift cards.

Read more about the legislative changes on the AGD website


Underquoting

Consumer and Business Services (CBS) is running a campaign to stamp out underquoting in the real estate industry.

What is underquoting?

Underquoting is when a property is advertised at a lower price than:

  • the agent’s genuine estimate of the property’s value
  • the vendor’s acceptable selling price
  • the auction reserve price
  • a genuine offer or expression of interest by a prospective buyer that the vendor refused.

Some agents will underquote to get more potential buyers to look at the property, even though the real asking price is a lot higher. This frustrates buyers as they end up wasting their time looking at properties that are actually outside of their price range.

Buying a property is a big investment. Potential buyers should be provided with correct information so they can make the right decision.

By providing false or misleading information about a property, a real estate agent or sales representative is committing an offence.

An agent or sales rep must have reasonable grounds for advertising a property at the price stated in the advertisement, or they can face penalties under the Australian Consumer Law of up to $500,000 for an individual or $10 million for a company.

An agent or sales rep must also ensure that they advertise the property at the price which is the greater of the vendor’s acceptable price and the agent’s estimated price. Penalties of up to $20,000 or imprisonment for 1 year apply under the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994.

How do I know if a property is underquoted?

You can protect yourself from underquoting by researching prices of properties in a similar area or talking with other real estate agents to get to know the market in your chosen area.

If you know of anyone in the industry who is underquoting please report them to CBS.

Report online at cbs.sa.gov.au/contact-us/


Reform to SA liquor laws – CBS news

The Liquor Licensing (Liquor Review) Amendment Act 2017 was passed by the South Australian Parliament on 14 November 2017 to implement reforms to liquor licensing in South Australia.

The reforms were developed in response to the 2016 review conducted by retired Supreme Court Judge Tim Anderson QC, which made 129 recommendations to create a modern and flexible licensing system that supports a vibrant hospitality industry, while maintaining a safe drinking culture.

Delivery of the reforms has been divided into three stages to allow for operational changes and further consultation on different aspects of the reforms.

To stay informed about the reforms, all holders of liquor licenses are encouraged to sign up for e-notifications by visiting www.cbs.sa.gov.au/signup.

Stage 1 – December 2017

The first stage of reforms commenced in December 2017, focusing on protecting minors and reducing red tape.

Find out more about changes to industry licensing and supply of alcohol to minors

Stage 2 – September 2018

Stage 2 changes create tougher penalties for breaches of the Liquor Licensing Act 1997, expand protections for minors, reduce red tape, and introduce additional changes in the best interest of the community in relation to:

  • direct sales
  • seizure of evidence of age documents
  • dry zones
  • welfare barrings
  • training requirements
  • liquor accords.

Laws have now passed that support the stage 2 reforms, many of which commence 24 September 2018.

Read more about the latest changes.

Stage 3 – 2019/2020

The State Government delivered the 2018-19 State Budget on Tuesday, 4 September 2018, which includes the introduction of revised liquor licensing fees.

The new fee structure is currently being developed. Fees will not exceed those proposed in Mr Anderson’s report (in many cases, fees are expected to be significantly lower than the fees he recommended and are expected to produce savings in some cases for certain classes of licence).

All current licences will transition to new liquor licence categories, commencing mid-2019.

To assist licensees through the transition of their licences, an easy to use web portal will also be developed.

Consumer and Business Services will continue to work with industry and licensees to provide advice about these changes.

Further information

Information on new and existing liquor licences and venues can be found on sa.gov.au 


Labour hire laws – CBS news

The State Government has announced that it intends to repeal the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2017, following feedback raised by stakeholders.

A taskforce has been established to consider whether existing laws are sufficient to protect labour hire workers from exploitation, and recommend changes if needed.

Legislation to repeal the Labour Hire Licensing Act is expected to be introduced into Parliament by the end of the year.

Licence applications

Consumer and Business Services (CBS) is not accepting applications for a labour hire licence at this time. If you have already applied for a licence CBS will promptly refund application fees that have been paid, if the Act is successfully repealed.

If you have any further questions, please contact CBS via occupational@sa.gov.au

Concerns about a labour hire provider

If you have concerns about an unscrupulous labour hire provider, please contact:

  • Fair Work Ombudsman – To discuss or report concerns including pay, leave, ending employment, discrimination, and sham contracting. Visit the webpage Help us keep workplaces fair
  • Safe Work SA – To discuss or report concerns including safety, inadequate safety training, and worksite accidents. Visit safework.sa.gov.au

Residential parks reform – CBS news

Legislation has been introduced into Parliament to amend the Residential Parks Act 2007 (the Act). The Act regulates the relationship between residential park owners and people who live in parks as their principal place of residence.

The legislation was originally designed to address issues arising from people living in caravan parks in moveable, inexpensive structures on rented sites. However, over time the types of housing structures have changed. Some residential parks offer purely long term living in constructed or manufactured homes, while others are a mix of tourist accommodation with dedicated areas for residential living.  The types of dwellings range from caravans with annexes to transportable and manufactured homes.

A discussion paper was released in March 2016 to consult on ways to improve the current laws. Feedback received highlighted concerns around the insecurity of tenure, and the absence of any legal requirement for park owners to disclose certain information or to provide compensation for residents.

The Residential Parks (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2018, introduced into Parliament on 5 September 2018, would see a fairer and more transparent system for residential park residents and owners. The Bill aims to strike a balance between protecting the rights of residents and the investment in their homes, and the interests of park owners to support the growth of their parks.

Residential Parks (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2018


Gambling regulation measures included in State Budget

On Tuesday, 4 September, Treasurer Rob Lucas delivered the 2018-19 State Budget, which included measures aimed at delivering a more effective approach to gambling regulation in South Australia.

Under initiatives announced in the State Budget, the Government intends to dissolve the Independent Gambling Authority, with the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner to assume sole responsibility for the regulation of commercial gambling in South Australia.

The changes are expected to come into effect on 1 December, and will also include the establishment of a new Gambling Advisory Council, involving both Government and stakeholders, that will work collaboratively to address critical gambling-related matters.

These decisions have been informed by the conclusions of retired Supreme Court Judge Tim Anderson QC in his Administrative Review of Gambling Regulation in South Australia, which was tabled in Parliament on 4 September, 2018.

As the review contains personally and commercially sensitive information that was not relevant to these decisions, that information has been redacted from the review. The Gambling Regulation in South Australia, Administrative Review of – Report 9 December 2016 is now available from the Parliament of South Australia website.


What to consider when using a furniture removalist

Moving house can be a stressful time. Be prepared and ensure your furniture and personal belongings are packed and moved securely so you don’t end up spending more than you bargained for.

Get the right quote for you

There are many options when choosing a furniture removalist. Everyone’s needs are different, so it is important to choose a furniture removalist for your specific needs.

Know your needs

Consider the amount of furniture and boxes that will be moved, the distance, if the removalist will have to use stairs and what other services you require, eg packing or unpacking. Understanding what your needs are will enable you to get a quote that is specific to your needs and won’t leave you with any surprises at the end.

Shop around

Shop around and compare quotes with a number of furniture removalists. Get quotes in writing, that way if you decide to move forward with a quote, you are clear about the price and what is included.

It is also a good idea to ask friends or family for recommendations about removalists. Check independent reviews online to find out if other customers have been happy or otherwise with the service they received.

Protect your belongings

A removalist business must take care to avoid damage or loss of your items.

Take photos

Taking photos of your furniture and items, in particular the expensive items, is a good precaution. If you need to seek compensation for issues that the removalist has caused, then having images of your belongings before and after the move will help provide evidence to support your claim.

Insurance

Most removalists will have insurance to protect their own vehicles, however it’s a good idea to take out your own insurance in case your goods are damaged or lost. Consumer guarantees do not apply to things beyond the removalist’s control – e.g. tree branch falling onto the moving truck and damaging the contents. Check whether your current home and contents insurance includes moving to another location, if not consider taking out insurance in case something were to happen to your items when moving.

What are my rights if something goes wrong?

Your removalist service will automatically come with consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law. This means that the service must:

  • Be delivered using due care and skill to avoid loss or damage to your goods
  • Be reasonably fit for any purpose specified by you to the removalist
  • If no time is agreed, be provided within a reasonable time.

You are entitled to a remedy if a consumer guarantee has not been met. For example, receiving compensation for the difference in value between the service delivered and what you paid for.

Speak to the removalist business in the first instance about the problem. If the issue isn’t resolved then put your complaint to them in writing. Outline the problem and what you would like them to do, and give them a reasonable time to respond (e.g. 7 days). If you still have concerns then contact Consumer and Business Services for advice.


Call for compensation – Olympia Travel

Customers of Mr Koutropoulos and Mrs Boufkas of Olympia Express Tourist and Travel are invited to apply for compensation for losses suffered as a result of travel services offered between March 2015 and March 2016.

The Honourable Justice Stanley order consumers be notified of their right to apply for compensation.

The following notice was ordered:

Vasilios Koutropoulos and Mary Boufkas, operators of Olympia Express Tourist and Travel Office, have accepted that they engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in the provision of travel services to consumers since at or around March 2015 in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (SA).

By court order, Mr Koutropoulos and Ms Boufkas must now pay compensation to affected consumers. The purpose of this notice is to invite affected consumers to apply for such compensation.

Should you believe that:

1. you suffered loss as a result of a failure by Mr Koutropoulos or Ms Boufkas to provide travel services to any of the following people: Nickolas Kollis; Effie Kiziridis; George Giakoumis; Athena Karanastasis; Konstantinos Dimopoulos; Saadea Abood; Hefah Abood; Ramzeyeh Al Saeedy; Anastasia Maretis; Angeliki Kotsonis; Fanoula Moutsokapas; Ammar Ateya Twice Al Ghizee; Nicolette Alexia Kourlis; Ann Nikari; Kathy Economos; or Athanasia Nikitas; or

2. you paid money to either Mr Koutropoulos or Ms Boufkas for travel services, for example, but not limited to, airline tickets, travel insurance or hotel bookings, but were not provided with confirmed bookings for those travel services;

Mr Koutropoulos and Ms Boufkas are required to re-pay to you the amount of that loss or the amount paid for those services, less any amount already paid to you by Mr Koutropoulos or Ms Boufkas as a refund or compensation.

Should you, or anyone you know, satisfy the above criteria and wish to obtain compensation please notify Consumer and Business Services by 21 September 2018 on the following contact details.

Consumer and Business Services

GPO BOX 1719

ADELAIDE SA 5001

Consumer and Business Services will then assess your circumstances, seek further information from you and provide your details to Vasilios Koutropoulos and Mary Boufkas so, if appropriate, compensation can be made.

Contact Consumer and Business Services on 131 882 with any enquiries on making a claim.


Choose your care. Use your rights.

Recent reforms in aged care give more choice to consumers who wish to remain in their homes. All government funded home care packages are now provided to individual consumers rather than allocated to approved providers. This allows older consumers more flexibility and choice in their care arrangements.

Choosing a provider

If you are assigned a home care package, it’s important to compare providers and find the care that’s best for you.

  • Take your time and ask questions about the products and services on offer.
  • Find out how much the services will cost, including any administration or exit fees that may apply.
  • Read testimonials and independent reviews.
  • Seek advice from a trusted advocate, family member or legal advisor.

Your consumer rights

When you buy goods or services you have rights under the Australian Consumer Law. These rights apply regardless of whether you pay for something yourself or you receive them under a home care package. Your consumer rights are in addition to the rights that you have under the Aged Care laws.

You have the right to:

  • choose your own home care provider
  • not be pressured
  • receive honest and accurate information
  • have services delivered on time and with care
  • receive goods that are of acceptable quality (safe and durable).

If something goes wrong

If the service is not delivered to an acceptable standard or something seems unfair, talk with your provider. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

If the issue is not resolved:

  • In the first instance, contact the Older Person’s Advocacy Network for help. Ph 1800 700 600 or visit opan.com.au
  • Contact the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner if you have any concerns about aged care services provided. Ph 1800 550 552 or visit agedcarecomplaints.gov.au
  • Contact Consumer and Business Services for advice about your consumer rights. Ph 131 882 or visit cbs.sa.gov.au

For more information

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provides guidance about your consumer rights when using home care. See the guides at accc.gov.au/agedcare


Gift Cards – proposed exemptions

New laws will require most gift cards sold in South Australia to have an expiry date of at least 3 years.

However the law will not apply to gift cards purchased online or over the phone where:

  • the gift card is to be delivered to a consumer’s address outside of SA
  • the consumer who purchased the gift card lives outside SA.

These changes for gift cards have been passed by the SA Parliament. Further information is provided in the background section below.

Consultation on the Regulations

Comments have been sought on the categories of gift cards that will be exempt from the new provisions – e.g. temporary marketing promotions or vouchers supplied for charitable purposes.

Consultation closed on 20 July 2018 and the feedback received is being considered.

Background

The Fair Trading (Gift Cards) Amendment Bill 2018 aims to make gift cards more consumer friendly by providing greater flexibility and certainty for consumers who are often confused by varying rules in relation to gift card expiry dates.

The Bill reduces the detriment caused to consumers when they are forced to redeem gift cards and make purchases that they otherwise might not, simply because of a looming expiry date. It also reduces the financial loss experienced by consumers who do not redeem their gift cards at all, simply because they have been unable to find something that they wish to purchase within the period of time that the gift card is valid.

The Bill eases the pressure placed on consumers by increasing the period of time in which they have to redeem their vouchers, ensuring that they get what they’ve paid for and are more likely to make purchases that they can benefit from.

The Fair Trading (Gift Cards) Amendment Bill 2018 has been passed by the SA Parliament and is available at www.legislation.sa.gov.au