Consumers advised on how to protect their rights

18 December 2006

A new guide for consumers, Know how to complain, has been issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

"The guide sets out the main rights and protections that consumers have under the Trade Practices Act and the steps consumers should take if they want to enforce their consumer rights", ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, said today.

"The ACCC encourages all consumers to learn more about the rights they have when buying goods or services. If a consumer believes that a business has acted in a way that is inconsistent with their fair trading obligations, consumers can - and should - stand up for their rights".

As well as setting out information about consumer rights and how to complain, the guide explains the ACCC's role - what it can and cannot do for consumers.

"The ACCC receives many calls about warranties and refund claims. Consumers should be aware that whenever they buy a good or service, the Act gives them certain protections that cannot be changed or removed. If the product is faulty, consumers can seek a refund, exchange or repair from the business.

"While the ACCC can't take action on behalf of individuals in relation to warranty and refund claims, it can provide information and guidance for consumers about how to do so.

"The ACCC encourages consumers to contact the business first, and if this doesn't work, to seek assistance from a third party. There are a range of industry dispute resolution schemes, ombudsman and government agencies that can help consumers with their inquiries and complaints. If consumers do not know where to go, they can contact their local office of fair trading, or the ACCC Infocentre for more information.

"Consumers who are aware of their rights and willing to enforce them perform a great service for the integrity of the market and the benefit of their fellow consumers", Mr Samuel said.

The Know how to complain guide is available free of charge from the ACCC website, or by calling the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502.

Links

Release number: 
MR 314/06
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Mr Graeme Samuel - (03) 9290 1812
Ms Lin Enright - (02) 6243 1108