New laws protect Christmas shoppers

Published: 
29 Nov 2011

Christmas shoppers in WA will have the protection of the new Australian Consumer Law (ACL) for the first time this year with agencies planning a pre-Christmas campaign.

The new laws, which came into effect on 1 January 2011, include consumer guarantees which ensure that goods sold in the Australian marketplace are safe, durable, free from defects and fit for their intended purpose.

WA Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said there is also a guarantee for services.

“When consumers buy a service, which could be anything from a haircut to lawn mowing, the person or business that sells the service automatically guarantees to use an acceptable level of skill or technical knowledge and the service will be carried out in a reasonable time in cases where there is no fixed time for supply,” Ms Driscoll said.

“If goods or services fail to meet any of the guarantees provided under the Australian Consumer Law, consumers have a number of options available to them. If the problem is minor and can be fixed easily and within a reasonable time, the retailer or manufacturer can choose to provide a repair, or offer a replacement or a refund.

“If the product has a major fault the consumer can and should insist on determining what remedy they want, replacement goods or a full refund.”

Consumer Protection in WA will join the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and state and territory agencies in a co-ordinated national campaign to ensure that retailers are honouring these guarantees.

“The campaign will be targeting stores which sell white goods, electronics and mobile phones to check that their refund policies are legal. The ACL has been law for almost a year now so we expect all retailers to have made any changes necessary to comply with the new laws,” the Commissioner said.

Product safety officers at WA Consumer Protection will also be conducting a pre-Christmas blitz to ensure that toys being sold meet Australian safety standards.

“Toys will be checked to make sure they don’t pose a choking or strangulation hazard to a small child.  Any toys found to be dangerous will be removed from the shelves,” the WA Commissioner said.

“When shopping this Christmas for children’s toys, safety-conscious buyers should follow age recommendations and instructions, look out for small toys or toys with small removable parts and choose sturdy, well-made toys that will withstand a child throwing it around.”

Christmas shoppers who want to know their rights, or have concerns about the safety of a product, can contact Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au

Contact details

Media Contact:

Alan Hynd  9282 0961 or 0429-078791  alan.hynd@commerce.wa.gov.au

Note:  Audio grabs of the Commissioner are available upon request

(WA Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce) - You can now follow us on Twitter: @ConsumerWA or like our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionWesternAustralia

More information on product safety and the mandatory safety standards can be found at www.productsafety.gov.au. Australian product recalls are published at www.recalls.gov.au, and you can also follow product safety at the ACCC on Twitter: @ProductSafetyAU.