Consumer rights

Caveat Emptor
 Let the buyer beware
 Consumer should be responsible about what he wants to buy, prices and quality
 Upto the consumer to chose wisely
Consumer Protection
 Sometimes impossible to know whether the product is will work properly or not
 At point of sale consumer are protected by law concerning some aspects of their purchases despite principal of caveat emptor
Consumer Rights
 United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Rights- 8 basic consumer rights that as consumers we are entitled to
 Rights are
– products/services should not hidden safety hazards in natural use
– Fair Trading Act NSW has safety standards for particular types of products
– Unsafe products can be banned ( product faulty and can not be sold again) or recalled (all stock taken back repaired and then put on the shelves)
– information provided to customers must be accurate – consumer must be able to make an informed choice
– labeling/advertising must not be misleading
– Information required by law:
– Prices
– Capability of the product
– Content and weight of packages
– Care and size labeling on clothing
– Country of origin of product
– Safety instructions of use of the use of dangerous products
– Fiber content of soft goods like soft toys
– Date stamping
– Additive labeling of foods and drinks i.e. colouring
– chose from a section of products
– but or refuse to buy goods o services
– to chose the seller they want to but from
– to be free from unreasonable pressure to buy
– if small shop is difficult to be heard because no superiors
– if large company you can:
– talk to manger
– make bad publicity
– if concerning the law talk to Department of Fair Trading
– If government co operation then talk to OMBUD (representative from the government)
– Australian Consumers Association – group of consumers
– access to basic essential goods and services
– adequate food clothing shelter health care education and sanitation
– Receive a fair settlement of just claims including compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services
– Can ask for refund, replacement, repair
– Faulty goods
– Goods that are not fit for the purpose
– Foods that are different to the example or description given
– Services not carried out with due care or skill
– inform themselves on specifications, requirements, capabilities of product or service – part of consumer’s responsibility
– understand any terms condition contracts legal documents they sign
– Before consumer buys should
– Think
– Is product necessary (avoid impulse buying)
– Can you afford it
– Compare
– Prices – shop around
– Read labels – content quality
– Check for hidden costs
– Read consumer information magazines
– Credit card charges and facilities
– When buying
– Inspect goods carefully in store if possible
– Ask question
– Check warranty
– Read fine print before signing
– If paid keep receipt
– live and work in healthy environment
– non-threatening to the wellbeing of present and future generations
Exercising Consumer Rights
;#61553; Passive Consumer
– Let others – sellers and other consumer to decide what they get and the standards of service they will get
;#61553; Assertive Consumer
– know their rights
– confident they are entitled to them
– not afraid to ask for their rights
– realize people who are prejudice to them are wrong
;#61553; Aggressive Consumer
– try to force their wishes onto sellers and other customers without considering the other people’s rights
Seller Activities that reduce consumer’s power
;#61553; Advertising
– aims to convince consumers to buy certain goods by stressing aspects which are important to individuals
– buy new models of goods which have already been
– targeted at certain groups of people e.g. age groups
;#61553; Excessive Packaging
– harder to examine them
– harder to find exact quantity wanted
– adds unnecessary cost to item
– makes it eye catching – improves presentation
;#61553; Planned obsolescence
– made so they become quickly out of date
– no spare parts made so have to buy a new one
– need to be replaced in a short time
;#61553; Technical Jargon
– try s to confuse you
– makes you but things with more things than you want or need
– take informed friend/ get as well informed as possible
Illegal and Unfair Practices
;#61553; Pyramid Sales
– does not sell products but instead keeps on recruiting new sales people who have to pay to get recruited
;#61553; Referral selling
– customer has to provide names of other potential customers to company so that they can receive a discount on their own purchases
;#61553; Unordered goods
– company sends unordered good to your home and demands payment
– can notify trader and after 1 month becomes your property
– don’t notify trader and after 3 moths becomes your property
 No refund notices
– No refunds or exchanges notice – misleading
– If product is faulty at time of purchase then customer can repair, replace or refund
 Uncollected goods
– when goods are not collected, seller must wait for 6 months from when the purchase was ready so that they can sell it
 False and misleading Advertising
– Advertising regulated by Department of Fair Trading in NSW and the ACCC (Australian Completion and consumer commission)
– Advertising must be correct
 Baited and switched advertising
– Attractive price advertised so that consumer comes to shop and then find out that the product is unavailable and is tried to be made to buy something more expensive.

What Dissatisfied Customer can do
1. Decide exactly what dissatisfied with and what you want done about it
2. Go back to point of sale as quickly as possible. Take any paperwork which will help prove case – dare of purchase, advertising, docket, price, name of salesperson. Date problem arose, any promises made by sales person. Try to speak to someone who sold item or someone in higher authority and tell them what you want done.

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3. If you cannot negotiate put complaint in writing and write to someone in higher authority in the store
4. If you still do not get the results you want talk to the following people:
– Federal government – powers to regulate the activities of companies
– government – tried to protect consumers against unfair practices through the Trade Practices Act 1974
– Carries out duties through federal bureau of consumer affairs
– Secured money from government funding for financial counseling and consumer education programs aiming these programs that are especially vulnerable to deceptive practices
– acts on behalf of consumers and businesses -promote fair trading and protect consumer rights
– helps consumers with problems with traders – last resort is to send you to tribunal – cheap and quick
– publishes pamphlets and gives advice on product safety and standards, weights and measures, rental bonds, building disputes, motor dealer warranties and repairs, credit protection
– private organisation that buys and tests many brands of many products
– publishes findings in Choice magazine – sent to members and is available at most libraries
– helpful when choosing between many brands of goods
– formerly known as Australian Standards Association
– sets national benchmarks which Australian industries must reach to be able to carry out the Australian standards mark
– based on safety
– acceptable quality levels
– parts that are interchangeable
– reduction in unnecessary or uneconomical variety
– Standardsmark proves that goods have met certain specified quality
– Standards only wet when an authoritative source asks for it
– Helps Australian firms intending to export their goods
– Gives information of standards required for goods and services in countries they are interested in
– Newspapers – columns giving advice to consumers on new products available and ways to get refunds or replacements on faulty products
– Radio stations – consumer advice programs
– Television – demonstrate new products
– Bad publicity causes firm to fix problem
– new type of dispute settlement scheme between consumers and businesses
– help settle problems ion industries
– help can be in insurance, finance and telecommunication
 Independent bodies set up by government departments to settle disputes quickly and cheaply
 Consumer claims tribunal
– helps consumer and trader reach settlement that is acceptable to both
– if they can not reach an agreement then a referee (person from the tribunal who listens to both sides and makes a decision that seems fair to them both)
– Referees orders are final and must be obeyed
– Consumer Claims tribunal can not make claims for more than $25000.
– 3 main benefits are
– relatively inexpensive
– quick
– informal
Green Consumer
 Green Consumer (describes us and our actions)
 Protects environment by
– recycle waste
– reduce consumption
– reuse products
 Main issues
– Transport
– Household Energy use
– Food and Clothing
– Recycling Products
– Water use


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