Minister commemorates World Consumer Rights Day

Minister for Consumer Affairs Michael O'Brien has used World Consumer Rights Day to remind Victorians to be aware of their rights as consumers.

Consumer Affairs Victoria is holding a range of activities to mark the day, educating traders about their responsibilities and consumers about their rights.

"People have basic rights when purchasing goods and services. This international event raises awareness of the eight consumer rights, which include the right to information and the right to choose," Mr O'Brien said.

Today, staff from Consumer Affairs Victoria will be encouraging fair trading by businesses by visiting around 380 shops at Direct Factory Outlets all over Melbourne to gauge the level of compliance with the Australian Consumer Law - ACL, which came into effect on January 1.

The day will focus on educating traders and reminding them of their refund and lay-by obligations. Consumer Affairs Victoria officers will also provide traders with a retailer tool kit to ensure their store policies meet these obligations.

"With the introduction of the ACL, consumers around the country have the same protection. So whether you shop in Melbourne, Mildura or Mooloolaba, your rights are the same," Mr O'Brien said.

"Consumers' rights deserve to be protected and respected. By supporting businesses to understand their responsibilities we can help them, and consumers, at the same time."

Consumer Affairs regional officers from across Victoria will also hand out information about its free smart phone app, MyShopRights, at local shopping centres and strips. MyShopRights provides shoppers with on-the-spot information about their rights and helping to resolve any issues with traders. It also has tools to keep photos of your receipts, as well as reminders of when lay-bys and payments are due or when gift vouchers expire.

In 2010, the majority of all enquiries and complaints to Consumer Affairs Victoria concerned issues of warranties and the quality and supply of goods. This included over 23,000 enquiries about warranties.

Of these, there were:

  • more than 6,500 enquiries about refunds,
  • more than 2,900 enquiries about misrepresentation, and
  • more than 2,700 enquiries about pricing.

Retail products included clothing, apparel, electrical appliances, whitegoods, furniture and furnishings. For further information on consumer issues, click here.

(Published by Premier of Victoria - March 14, 2011)

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