Applications open soon for labour hire licences – media release

Consumer and Business Services is urging labour hire companies to make sure they apply for a licence by the start of August, ahead of the mandatory licensing system for the sector that comes into effect in September.

Commissioner for Consumer Affairs Dini Soulio said that from September 1, any business that supplies workers to another person and pays the worker (either to cover wages or a part payment) will need to be licensed.

Applications open soon for labour hire licences – media release


Industry warned of potential for criminal law breaches – statement

A real estate agent who allegedly contravened property rules has acknowledged the breach likely occurred. He has provided an assurance that he will not repeat his actions.

The assurance provided by M&G Property Group Pty Ltd trading as Elders Mawson Lakes and its director, Mr Domenico Mastrogiacomo for two contraventions are a timely warning to the real estate industry.

Read the full statement – Industry warned of potential for criminal law breaches (PDF 102KB)

Signed assurance


Agent’s conflict of interest – also known as beneficial interest or 24G

From 29 January 2018 there are more stringent guidelines that deal with circumstances where a real estate agent or their associate wants to buy a property the agent has appraised or is authorised to sell.

Definition of an associate

The definition of an associate will be expanded significantly to apply to all employees of an agency, as well as relatives of those employees.  Step-relations will also be classified as relatives.

Using the corporate entity

Directors of real estate agencies will be discouraged from using the corporate entity as a vehicle to gain a beneficial interest through the introduction of a vicarious liability provision, unless it is proven that due diligence was exercised and the director could not have prevented the commission of the offence.

Liability of general managers and managers

Both general managers and managers of individual real estate branches will be liable for the actions of their employees in certain circumstances, unless they can rely upon the general defence that exists in the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) legislation. This encourages high level management to ensure that offences are not committed within their agency.

Managers of individual branches (as opposed to general managers overseeing the corporate entity) will not be liable for transactions occurring in other branches.

Penalties

Penalties will increase from $20,000 to $50,000 for many offences.

Aggravated offences will be introduced for each existing offence, with penalties of up to $100,000 or 2 years imprisonment. Offences will be aggravated if vendors are aged over 70, are under guardianship, or are suffering from a mental incapacity.

Time limit for prosecution

The time limit for prosecution proceedings to be commenced will increase from two years to five years, and up to seven years in extenuating circumstances, to allow for the lengthy nature of property transactions.

Please refer to the associate table (PDF 64KB) for more guidance.

Where there is a beneficial interest

The agent must disclose the conflict of interest to the vendor and seek approval from the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs by way of online application.

Where possible, agents should aim to have settlement of their property before 29 January 2018 or from March onwards. For settlement that occurs from 29 January to 28 February an application to obtain beneficial interest will need to be completed at least three weeks prior to the settlement date to allow enough time for CBS to give the application due consideration.

For more information see apply for a 24G exemption.


Bait advertising and underquoting

Bait advertising and under-quoting can have a significant and detrimental financial impact on consumers. The real estate industry is often where the financial impact can be the most considerable.

The CBS Compliance and Enforcement unit regularly check advertisements published online, in social media and newspapers. They also regularly attend open inspections and auctions to make sure advertising and contracts align to avoid misleading prospective purchasers

Media release – Crackdown on dodgy land agents (PDF 356KB)


Advertisements must include a licence number

Many tradies, real estate and second hand vehicle dealers companies and individuals invest in advertising to get their name and brand out in the community to bring in work. But some may not realise that they’re breaking the law if their ad doesn’t include their licence number.

Consumer and Business Services (CBS) has been monitoring advertisements placed by the building trades in recent months and more than 60% of ads don’t comply. CBS compliance officers have checked ads published online, in social media and newspapers across the state.

Individuals and businesses in the the real estate, second hand vehicle dealers industries and the building and related trades found not to include a licence number in advertising will face compliance action, which may include a warning letter, expiation or prosecution. Penalties for failing to advertise with a licence number apply.

The requirement to include the licence number applies to all forms of advertising. This includes their own website, flyers, business cards and vehicles as well as paid ads on television, radio, online or in a newspaper.

In addition to the licence number, building contractors must also include the licence name in all advertising and on a prominent sign on all sites where they are performing building work.

Licensees that act outside the scope of their licence, when contacted by CBS, usually stop advertising or take steps to get the appropriate licence. In more serious cases, particularly where there has been detriment to consumers, CBS will take court action.

Companies and individuals are also reminded of their advertising obligations under Australian Consumer Law. An advertisement must not be misleading or provide false information about things such as:

• actual experience in performing certain work
• customer reviews
• special offers
• affiliation with a particular organisation.

For more information see the guide ‘Avoiding unfair business practices’.

Report any suspected activity around unlicensed trading or advertising at cbs.sa.gov.au/contact-us.

 


Online employee notification system – gaming venue

Schedule 1 of the Gaming Machines Act 1992 requires gaming venues to notify Consumer and Business Services of all gaming managers and employees. The Barring and Online Employee Notification (BOEN) system is used to upload employee declaration and consent forms when complete.

Licensees are responsible for ensuring that all gaming managers and employee forms have been uploaded before starting any shifts. If a person is employed at more than one venue, the licensee of each venue needs to notify the commissioner separately via the BOEN system. Penalties apply for licensees that do not comply.

The employee declaration and consent form (form 21) (PDF 185KB) is available from the Independent Gambling Authority website together with more information about the BOEN system and how to make an application.


Planning ahead for funeral costs

You may have seen those ads on TV telling you how affordable a funeral plan can be. They say you can put money aside now to make it easier for your family later. There are a number of ways you can pay for a funeral, but not all of them will be suitable for you.

Before you buy a funeral product, check if you already have some kind of funeral cover. If you have superannuation or health insurance these may include a life insurance policy which will pay a funeral or death benefit. If you decide to put more money away for a funeral, there are a few different options.

Savings

One of the easiest ways to pay for a funeral is to set up a savings account so you can save as much as you want, when you want. If you put away $20 each fortnight then you would have over $1,000 after two years. Importantly, with a savings account you don’t lose your money or your cover if you stop making payments.

Funeral insurance

Buying funeral insurance will mean regular ongoing payments. But it’s important to remember that insurance is not savings. If you miss a payment then your policy will usually end. You won’t get back what you’ve already paid, and you’ll no longer be covered, so your family won’t receive a pay-out when you pass away.

Before buying funeral insurance you should ask:

  • For how long will I need to make payments? If the policy requires regular payments until you pass away, you might pay a lot more than the amount your family will receive.
  • Are there circumstances where they won’t give a pay-out? E.g. if you pass away 12 months after signing up, will the policy pay out any money to your family?

Funeral bond

A funeral bond is a bit like putting money in the bank. All the money – plus any interest earned – will go to your family to help pay for the funeral. But it’s important to look at the costs and features, and be aware that there will be different rules with different companies.

Find out if you have to pay a certain amount upfront, how much the fees and charges are, and when you have to pay them.

Pre-paid funeral plans

This option allows you to pay for your funeral in advance through your funeral director, and you can choose the type of funeral you want. You can either pay in full, or you can pay a deposit and then regular payments over time. The payment plan can only be for three years at the most.

Your payments don’t increase over time, and you pay for the funeral at today’s price – even if the funeral is another 30 years away.

If you are likely to move house – maybe interstate – check if your plan can be transferred to another funeral director. Ask if there will be a transfer fee. If you don’t transfer your contract when you move interstate, and your funeral director is unable to provide the service, then the money will be paid to your estate.

Funeral directors are not allowed to look after your money themselves. They must give all payments to an investment manager, who must then invest the money in an approved investment. Your money is kept safe, even if the funeral company goes out of business.

For more information

See the pre-paid funerals factsheet or visit the MoneySmart website. If you have any concerns about a funeral product, contact Consumer and Business Services on 131 882.


Resources for teachers

Help your primary and secondary students to learn about their consumer and financial rights.

Resources for Years 5 to 10 have been mapped to the National Consumer and Financial Literacy Framework and the Australian curriculum.

The units of work cover topics such as:

  • Different ways to pay for goods and services
  • The importance of personal money management
  • Understanding how markets work
  • Advertising and market pressures to consume
  • Sustainable consumption
  • How to identify common scams and avoid them
  • Understanding how business and charity organisations raise funds
  • Ways to deal with common problems (e.g. a faulty product, or an unsatisfactory service).

These resources are available from the national Consumer Law website.

Other helpful materials for young consumers:

Mobile phones and tablets – What to look out for when purchasing – brochure (115 KB PDF file)

Video – Internet shopping explained: in memes!

It’s OK to walk away – rap song for Indigenous consumers

Buying a used car (PDF 84KB)

Video – Buying a used car