Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Hon Simon O'Brien MLC

Former Minister for Finance; Commerce; Small Business

    Consumer rights and safety at Christmas

    18/12/2012 12:00 AM
     

    • Consumers reminded of their right for fault-free and safe products
    • High level of complaints about gift card expiry dates
    Christmas shoppers were today reminded about their rights and warned to avoid dangerous products and scams at the busiest time of the year for the retail industry in Western Australia.
     
    Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said the Australian Consumer Law ensured consumers were entitled to a refund, replacement or repair if the product they bought was faulty, unsafe or not as described.
     
    “There are strong laws in place to protect consumers and give them a guarantee that the products they buy from Australian-based retailers, including those trading online, are free from defects, fit for their intended purpose and match any advertising description,” Mr O’Brien said.
     
    “When shopping online, use only well-known and reputable websites to avoid being scammed. Check to see if there are contact numbers and a physical address on the website, so you can contact them if you have a problem.
     
    “Paying purchases by credit card usually means you can get a chargeback if you don’t receive the items you buy on the internet and never send money by wire transfer as it could be a scam. Keep a record of all of your transactions.”
     
    The Minister revealed that Consumer Protection has received more than 60 complaints so far this year regarding gift cards.
     
    “Terms and conditions and expiry periods can vary from store to store, so consumers should check and know exactly when the card expires. Best advice is to redeem gift cards in full as soon as possible,” he said.
     
    As part of the pre-Christmas Safe Santa campaign, product safety officers in WA inspected more than 900 items in 150 stores and found that all complied with safety standards. Nationally, consumer protection agencies inspected 94,000 lines of toys from more than 3,000 retailers and pulled 11,000 unsafe toys from shelves in other States.
     
    “Shoppers, especially those who are buying gifts for young children, should be mindful not to buy toys or novelty items that may pose a choking or strangulation hazard and take note of warnings and age restrictions on the labels,” Mr O’Brien said.
     
    “Shoppers can check online to see if a product is on the banned list, such as the recently banned novelty magnets, and should report any items they see on the shelves or being sold online that they think might be banned or dangerous.
     
    “I recommend consumers download the iShopWA smartphone app which gives them their rights at their fingertips. They can also photograph copies of their receipts for warranty claims and set reminders for gift card expiry dates.”
     
          Fact File
    • The iShopWA can also be downloaded - or phone 1300 30 40 54
    • Product safety information available at http://www.productsafety.gov.au and scams information at http://www.scamnet.wa.gov.au
    • Liberal-National Govt has unwound 100 years of red tape to deliver more flexible trading hours, including the choice to trade until 9pm on weeknights and access to Sunday trading from 11am to 5pm
    Minister's office - 6552 5800