The Palaszczuk Government will be pushing for important reforms to Australian Consumer Law (ACL) at today’s meeting of Commonwealth, state, territory and New Zealand ministers for consumer affairs.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said it was important that the Consumer Affairs Forum (CAF) in Melbourne considered:
- introducing the Palaszczuk Government’s ‘lemon laws’ to protect Australians nationwide providing greater protection for ‘lemon’ vehicles;
- ensuring gift cards and other pre-purchased time-limited discount vouchers can be used by consumers within a fair time period;
- banning fees for paper bills; and
- tightening measures against scalpers.
“In 2016, the Palaszczuk Government was successful in getting the issue of lemon laws - relating to faulty new motor vehicles - to form part of the review of Australia’s consumer laws,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“The review report recommended a proposal to strengthen consumer protections so that when goods fail to comply with consumer guarantees within a short, specified period of time, the consumer is entitled to a refund or replacement without needing to prove a ‘major’ failure.
“This is a recommendation of the review and is key to providing stronger protections for buyers of new motor vehicles.
“Without it, those who purchase a new motor vehicle that fails within the first month or two of ownership will continue to have to fight to prove that the failure was a major failure, which is not good enough.”
Gift cards and pre-purchased time-limited discount vouchers
“An estimated $2.5 billion worth of gift cards are sold around Australia each year, but $70 million worth of those cards expire before they are used,” Mrs D’Ath.
“Gift cards are popular presents at Christmas time – whether you are naughty or nice. So, let’s make sure those who receive them can actually use them, and the cards don’t turn into a lump of coal.
“I want to take this a step further and consider the particular issues around insolvency and gift card redemption when a trader goes into administration.
“We also need to build in more protections for other pre-purchased time-limited discount vouchers, like Groupons and Scoopons.”
“The cost of paper bills can add up over the course of a year – especially for those on low incomes,” Mrs D’Ath said.
“Charges for receiving a paper bill are typically between $1.50 to $3 per bill, but we know there are some service providers that charge much more than this.
“Nearly 2.6 million Australians do not use the internet and 1.3 million Australians are not connected to the internet.
“No consumer should be disadvantaged because they don’t use the internet or have an email account.”
“I will call for price caps on the resale of tickets, improved disclosure arrangements for ticket resale websites and a national ban on the use of ticket-buying bots,” Mrs D’Ath said.
More information here.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath