$3.8 million annual return to consumers as a result of dispute resolution
WA consumers have recouped a total of $3.85 million in the 2017/18 financial year as a result of Consumer Protection’s dispute resolution efforts.
The bulk of the consumer redress achieved was for motor vehicle buyers who had just over $2 million returned to them either by manufacturers or dealers, mostly in the form of refunds for faulty vehicles or upgrades to a newer model of car, truck, four-wheel drive or caravan.
Shoppers received $927,000 back as well, relating mostly to the purchase of holiday travel, solar panels, electrical and household goods and home improvement products.
In the property area, $76,000 was returned to tenants, retirement village residents and clients of real estate agents and property managers. Getting bond refunds for tenants was the main item, but this category also included refunds of property management fees, retirement village charges and owners’ costs of advertising their property for sale or rent.
The value of our regional offices was demonstrated with a total of $747,000 in redress for regional consumers being achieved by our six offices in Bunbury, Geraldton, Albany, Kalgoorlie, Karratha and Broome.
Two romance scam victims also received money back after WA ScamNet assisted one victim to secure a reversal of a $50,000 transaction from their bank and another victim received $15,000 from their bank.
The figures don’t include the money that motorists save from utilising the information on our FuelWatch website to seek out the cheapest fuel prices.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said the figures highlighted the benefits of consumers enforcing their rights.
“Our conciliation service is free, so consumers who are having disputes with traders should contact us and we will attempt to secure a refund if their entitlement is being denied,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Failing a refund, consumers may also get the item repaired for free or get a replacement product. In some cases a settlement may be the offer of a new upgraded model if they are having serious, ongoing trouble with their current model.
“These are basic consumer rights so everyone should be aware of them and be prepared to exercise them. Too often, some consumers just accept whatever the trader is offering or give up on their claim.
“This only encourages that trader to do the same to the next customer, so we need to know what’s happening so we can take appropriate action to ensure businesses are doing the right thing and fulfilling their legal obligations.”
Consumers who are having a dispute with traders can access our free conciliation service by contacting Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email@example.com or can lodge a complaint at www.consumerprotection.wa.gov.au.
Media Contact: Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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