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Consumers and the Law (Scams/ unsafe goods)

Legal Studies: By Jasmine Rodda, Liam Harris and Joanna Collins

Jo Collins

on 5 November 2012

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Transcript of Consumers and the Law (Scams/ unsafe goods)

SCAMS Consumers and
the Law The role of the consumer law is to protect individual's who are able or unwilling to protect themselves.
These laws developed over time as society has changed. The law Fair trading legislation are there to give both consumers and traders a fair go. Consumers expect the goods and services they use or buy to be safe and do as they’re supposed to, and have the ability to complain if they are faulty and seek a remedy from the trader or manufacturer.
The main aims of consumer law and the Fair Trading Act are to:
• Protect consumers
• Promote and encourage fair trading practices and a competitive market
• Provide for statutory conditions and warranties in consumer contracts
• Provide for unfair terms in consumer contacts to be void
• Provide for the powers and functions of the director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, including powers to conciliate and carry out investigations into alleged breaches of the act
• To regulate transactions between consumers and the suppliers of goods and services. National, State and Territory consumer agencies will jointly administer and enforce the
ACL. The relevant agencies are:
• the ACCC;
• NSW Fair Trading;
• Consumer Affairs Victoria;
• Queensland Office of Fair Trading;
• WA Department of Commerce — Consumer Protection;
• SA Office of Consumer and Business Affairs;
• Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading Tasmania;
• ACT Office of Regulatory Services; and
• NT Consumer Affairs.
ASIC will continue to enforce the consumer protection provisions of the ASIC Act.
Enforcement of the ACL and the related ASIC Act provisions will be supported at an
operational level by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the ACCC, ASIC
and State and Territory consumer agencies. CONFLICTING ATTITUDES PART
Manufacturers are liable to compensate for loss or damage suffered as a result of supplying
defective goods. Enforcement agencies may also bring a defective goods action on behalf of a

What are consumer guarantees?
When a consumer buys goods or services, the ACL provides that they will have
guaranteed rights that:
• the supplier has the right to sell the goods;
• the goods are of acceptable quality;
• the goods match their description;
• the goods are fit for any purpose that the consumer makes known to the supplier;
• the repairs and spare parts are reasonably available;
• the services are carried out with reasonable care and skill; and
• the services are completed within a reasonable time. The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) commenced on January the 1st, 2011, where Australia has one national law for fair trading and consumer protection. This applies in all states and territories, where Australian consumers and businesses can have the same rights and obligations wherever they are in Australia. The purpose of being made into one law is to give all Australian’s the same rights, to simplify existing laws and business burdens, and to create a national enforcement regime.
This replaces existing national and State and Territory consumer laws, clarify understanding of the law for both Australian consumers and businesses. This will be administered by the ACCC and each State and Territory’s consumer law agency.
- Products and services are treated in the same way as other goods and services. A national fair contract terms law covering standard form consumer contracts;
- A national law guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services;
- A national product safety law and enforcement system;
- A national law for unsolicited consumer agreements covering door-to-door sales and telephone sales;
- Simple national rules for lay-by agreements
- New penalties, enforcement powers and consumer redress What does the ACL include? Who will enforce the ACL? Consumer Affairs enforces the consumer law in Victoria; they deal with complaints about a business, provide information to help you before you buy, and can refer you to other services for assistance, including another state, territory or national consumer agency.
They can also help dissolve disputes about;
building and renovating
buying and selling property
motor vehicles
owners corporation issues
product safety
retirement villages

There are also other organizations that can assist in disputes also. Benefits For The Consumer One Law;
This now makes it easier for consumers to understand and enforce their rights because they will be the same across Australia.
Easy to understand;
The ACL is simpler and clearer than the equivalent provisions of the former Trade Practices Act and the earlier State and Territory Fair Trading Acts.
Better Enforcement;
Courts and tribunals across Australia will apply the same law to consumer disputes, allowing for clearer avenues of redress and greater consistency in outcomes irrespective of where the dispute occurs or where the court or tribunal is located. For the Businesses Clear obligations;
Previous laws imposed different obligations on businesses depending on where in Australia a business or a particular part of a business is located or where a transaction took place.
However, the ACL imposes the same obligations on businesses across Australia, making compliance easier for businesses who trade in more than one jurisdiction. Your rights at home
Honesty and fairness;
Consumers are entitled not to be harassed by any retailer, service provider or their agent when purchasing from your home, on the phone or online.

Information and clear contracts;
-At home or on the phone, consumer are have the right to know who you’re dealing with and what your rights are.
-Consumers are entitled to see the total price, inclusive of any additional fees, charges or taxes.
-Consumers have the right to receive a standard form consumer contract, that has no unfair terms.
-Consumers have extra rights for unsolicited sales made at home, over the phone or online.

Quality goods and services;
-All products received must be safe, durable, free from defects, fit for purpose, acceptable in appearance, match its description and match any sample or demonstration model.
-Services performed in your home must be given with skill and care.
- And businesses must also honor all guarantees given, including express and extended warranties. http://multimedia.consumer.vic.gov.au/scams-quiz/ Scams are schemes designed to deceive, with the general purpose of stealing money or personal details. Scammers, go door-to-door, often offering cheap deals for 'today only'.
Scammers succeed by making the scam look 'real' and they can manipulate you to produce the response they want If you believed you have been scammed, you can report this to SCAMwatch (the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission).

"SCAMwatch Report a Scam online form"

And you can call the SCAMwatch ACCC Infocentre on 1300 795 995*
This operates from 8.30 am to 6pm EST weekdays, except National public holidays. Due to high call volume, you may experience a wait time. Different Scams;
Banking & online account scams
Chain letters and pyramid scams
Health & medical scams
Identity theft scams
Investment scams
Job & employment scams
Lottery and competition scams (fake prizes)
Mobile phone scams
Money transfer requests ('Nigerian' scams)
Online scams
Personalised scams
Small business scams - Knock on your door unexpectedly
- Offer cheap deals using words like ' for today only'
- Ask for cash up front
- Offer to drive you to the bank to get money for payment
- Make you feel pressured to accept their offer. Watch out for "Con men" Over time, consumer laws have been changed in many ways. These changes have been made primarily to strengthen the provisions of the laws. For example, major changes were made to the Fair Trading Act. These changes were included in the Fair Trading Amendments 2003. Changes have also been made to the Trade Practices Act 1994, however the biggest change was the Trade Practices Amendment (Australian Consumer Law) act 2009 which introduced a single national consumer law which replaced many of the consumer laws across Australia. Consumer laws now are generally very effective. Without them, there would be a much higher that when buying goods or services that it would be faulty or not as it’s supposed to be. These laws stop traders and businesses from selling or advertising dodgy goods as they are aware that consumers are protected by these rights and consequences will apply if these laws are infringed. Click link to go to scams quiz Activity The Australian Government, a State or a Territory may submit a proposal to amend the ACL and provide this to all other nations. The Australian Government will then commence a consultation within four weeks of the proposal being put forward. This will include:
•The Commonwealth Minister writing to all States and Territories notifying them of the amendment and providing three months from the date of that notice to consider and respond to the proposal in writing;
•After three months the Commonwealth Minister will call a vote. States and Territories will have 35 days to vote, and if they do not vote or abstain within that period, then they will be taken to have supported the proposed amendment; and
•To be successful, the proposed amendment must be supported by the Australian Government and at least four other jurisdictions, of which three must be States.

The Australian Government may make minor or inconsequential amendments to the ACL,
provided it notifies the States and Territories of its intention to do so. It may not proceed
with such amendments, if a State or Territory objects within 21 days of their receiving notice.
In this situation, the Commonwealth Minister must call a vote.
After an amendment has been agreed by the Australian Government and the States and
Territories, the Australian Government will then introduce legislation to amend the ACL
into the Australian Parliament. Amendments to the Consumer Law Individuals such as ourselves and our families play vital roles in the economic system of a nation. We are important because we demand goods and services and without us, businesses would not be able to run and there would be no need to have the ACL as there would be no rights to protect. Individuals and the ACL
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