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Consumer Protection Laws: When It Comes to Product Difficulties

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The purpose of this report is to discuss and address consumer protection laws when it comes to difficulties with products. The following paragraphs will discuss legislative protections, organisations, laws and policies available to consumers who are experiencing problems with products. Legislative protections will be discussed and how The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) can be used in assisting consumers, as well as organisations like the NSW Fair Trading Act and the Federal Government Commission ASIC. Business refunds and the NSW Fair Trading Act are two recommended consumer redresses that can be used to resolve product issues.

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Relevant Legislative Protections for Consumers 

The Legislative Protections for Consumers are a set of laws created to enhance the welfare of Australians by promoting fair trading and competition. This is done through ensuring the existence of consumer guarantees, warranties and multiple other services. The two most relevant legislative protections include:

· Legislative Protection 1 – Competition and Consumer Act 2010

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of Australia that’s purpose is to promote fair trading and competition and provide protections to consumers. This is done by covering product safety through collecting complaints and conducting investigations and preventing unlawful acts to keep consumers protected. This Act ensures the safety of consumers and abilities they have when it comes to purchasing a product. They cover issues such as product safety and labelling and unfair market practices through consumer guarantees like repair, replacement and refund, cancelling a service and compensation for damage and loss; all in order to keep consumers in control of their products.

· Legislative Protection 2 – Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW)

The Fair Trading Act are a set of rules created for fairness in everyday transactions between consumers and traders. They do this by preventing unethical and unsafe practises and ensuring products sold in NSW meet safety regulations and laws. During 2018-19, a loss of 4.2 million dollars occurred along people. This was a big improvement compared to 2017-18, which was a loss of 5.3 million. The impact shows the great improvements of Fair Trading Acts in the everyday lives of consumers and traders.

Two Organisations that can Assist Consumers of the Product

The issues with the LG 55UM7400PTA UM74 series 55” 4K UHD LED TV include sound volume issues and non-detailed graphics. This goes against what was specified in the description of the product and is classified as false advertising. In order to fix issues like this, two organisations could be used to assist consumers in receiving what they paid for or demanding a redress. They include:

· Organisation 1 – Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

ASIC is a Federal Government Commission whose role, placed simply, is to maintain and improve the performance of the financial system. This is done through placing legislations in order to maintain their main goals and their seven main priorities. Two of their priorities include addressing harms in insurance and protecting vulnerable consumers. Their work has been helping consumers so much that by 2019, 2 739 713 companies had registered in the whole of Australia. In 2019, 75 civil court cases were completed, and 96% were successful. Issues such as misleading conduct and engaging in unlicensed credit activity caused a total value penalty of 12.7 million dollars. Misleading conduct includes going against description of products, so customers with issues regarding the television that go against what they paid for can be handled with as well and resolved by ASIC.

· Organisation 2 – NSW Fair Trading

The State Government NSW Fair Trading is an organisation that promotes the Act through the supply, advertising and description of goods and services. Through the organisation, making false claims about a product or operating in a misleading or deceptive way is claimed unlawful. These rules are enforced in order to protect the rights of consumers and prevent businesses and traders from causing deception or harm to consumers. In 2015-16, 51 221 consumer and trader complaints were received, with 95% of complaints successfully resolved. Their total compliance was 98 352, with 19.9 million dollars annually spent on community grants. The way this is done is by giving consumers the support they need. If a consumer is having issues with a business or a product, for example the faulty tv, Fair Trading will assist them by giving them the advice required to receive their rights. This includes giving them the steps they need to take, giving advice on complaints and ways out to sort out issues between consumers and businesses.

Recommended Processes of Consumer Redress to Resolve Consumer Disputes

This section will explain the recommended processes of consumer redress to resolve consumer disputes and give consumers a brief knowledge on when to ask for redresses and when a manufacturer or company is going against set laws. Consumer redress is a policy that requires companies and manufacturers who sell goods to follow all relevant consumer laws. If this isn’t achieved, the consumers are entitled to a redress, which includes repair, replacement or refund. The two recommended processes for resolving the problem include:

Going to the business for a refund of the purchase price

A refund could be given if the problem with a certain product is major. When a refund is given, the money that was paid for the product is returned to the consumer in the same form as the original payment. Time may be taken account of from when the product was bought, as well as the type of product, how the consumer uses the product, and the amount of uses to be expected before the product fails. Consumers should consider refunding as a perfect option as it allows consumers to receive the amount they paid for a product if it’s poor in quality, model, purpose or doesn’t match descriptions; as well as extra promises and guarantees. Refunds give consumers the chance to save money; as well as improve connection between businesses/ marketers and consumers. In a survey conducted, 91% of customers stated that refund policies of stores played a big impact in their purchase decisions. Using a refund means being able to get the money deserved on a faulty product, like the LG tv, and spending it on a better qualitied television.

Contacting NSW Fair Trading if the business doesn’t give a refund or replacement when required to.

Store signs stating “no refunds” are unlawful as they don’t allow refunds even to faulty or problematic items. If this is the case, consumer guarantee rights still apply, so contacting NSW Fair Trading is allowed to ensure that consumers receive what they deserve. This is a wise decision as it helps consumers entitled to a refund for the above reasonings (stated in “going to the business for a refund”). The only times when businesses can refuse to refund include when a consumer simply changes their mind, the product is misused, consumer was unclear, or the problem was completely outside the business’ control. As the LG television was bought faulty, consumer rights still apply, so contacting NSW Fair Trading would be wise as they’d be able to give tips and sample letters and accept complaints; leaving them to contact the business and resolve the issue. The NSW Fair Trading ensures businesses follow laws in refunding and consumers get their maximum support and what they’re entitled too.

To conclude, consumer protection laws are essential in giving consumers what they’re entitled to and supporting them when it comes to difficulties with problems. Relevant legislative protections like The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and Fair Trading Act 1987 state laws and policies essential in creating consumer rights and helping the marketing business. Organisations that assist this, like NSW Fair Trading and the Federal Government Commission ASIC are vital in maintaining and upholding these consumer rights; whilst being able to go to the business for a refund and contacting the NSW Fair Trading allow consumers to feel supported and unrestricted in buying and returning goods from business and marketers.

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