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Festive season 

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Welcome to the last edition of this year's Think Smart enewsletter.

As the year draws to a close it is time to reflect on the past year and plan for the new. We shouldn’t ask ourselves what went wrong but what we can be grateful for.

I would like to sincerely thank our Think Smart partners, service providers, community workers and organisations providing services to CALD consumers for your support and contribution to this year’s Fair Trading activities. I hope we can continue to grow to service the increasing educational demands of community groups from diverse backgrounds on consumer rights issues. Here’s to another productive year for a great partnership. Let’s enjoy the success of all our hard work. We gladly appreciate your contribution and support.

Wishing you, your family, colleagues and your Management Committee a safe festive holiday season and may 2016 be all that you wish for and more. I look forward to working with you again next year.

All the best for the year 2016!

Neneth Costa
Email: neneth.costa@finance.nsw.gov.au
 

Christmas shopping tips

As we head into the last two weeks of shopping before the festive season, Fair Trading would like to remind consumers and traders of their rights and obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. 

Traditionally, the final weeks before Christmas are when most consumers step up their spending. It is also the time when retailers increase their marketing and special offers. Some tips of staying safe while shopping this festive season either on line or in store:
  • Shop around
  • avoid impulse buying and
  • read the fine print, particularly on gift cards and vouchers.

Gift cards can be a great choice for many people, but they can also be a waste of money and lead to disappointment if not used correctly. For more helpful tips for a problem-free Christmas, read the Christmas shopping checklist on our website available in 8 languages (Arabic, Chinese, Dinka, English, Farsi, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese).

 

Have your say on the tenancy review 

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The NSW Government is reviewing the tenancy laws. Tenants and landlords are being encouraged to have their say. Between now and 29 January 2016, help us address questions about renting in NSW such as:

- is the equivalent of four weeks' rent for a bond the rent amount?
- is 60 days' written notice for a rent increase enough warning?
- should an agent, landlord or tenant ending a lease be able to SMS or email their notice to the other party?

Before having your say, read the Discussion Paper: Statutory Review of the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (PDF size: 2Mb). It will guide you through key topics including starting a tenancy, bonds, rent and charges, tenants' and landlords' rights and obligations, ending.

 

New online register of NSW incorporated associations   

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A free online register of NSW incorporated associations registered in NSW, including an entity's incorporation name and number, date of incorporation and registration status.

Groups interested to form an association can check if a proposed name is already registered by another association before applying for reservation of a name. This will save them time, money and reduce the possibility of their chosen name being rejected.

In NSW, there are more than 36,000 incorporated associations currently registered. NSW Fair Trading maintains the a register of information for every association.

Access the new online NSW Incorporated Association Register.

 

Charitable fundraising

On 1 July 2015, NSW Fair Trading assumed responsibility for administering the Charitable Fundraising Act 1991, which oulines how an organisation can legally undertake charitable fundraising acivities.

Many organisations conduct fundraising appeasl in order to finance their charirable activities.

If your organisation intends to fundraise for its charitable purposes, it must hold an authority to fundraise. To apply for an authority to fundraise, download and complete the Charitable fundraising application (PDF size: 205kb). Completed applications can be lodged by email or through the post.

Organisations that fundraise for charitable purposes must comply with the legislation, the regulations and the authority conditions.

Visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au for more information.
 

Rental Bonds Online videos in 5 languages

Fair Trading's new service Rental Bonds Online was officially launched allowing tenants, agents and private landlords to lodge and refund bond money quickly and securely over the internet.

How does the new system works?
New tenants pay their bond as a form of security in case they breach the tenancy agreement. All bonds taken by agents or private landlords must be lodged with NSW Fair Trading. While many tenants get their full bond at the end of the tenancy, a landlord or agent can make a claim against the bond for certain reasons, such as damage or rent owed, after the tenancy ends.

Rental Bonds Online makes the process of paying and refunding a bond easier for everyone. Agents and private landlords can lodge bonds in minutes without time-consuming cheques and paperwork. Tenants can pay their bond direct to Fair Trading, using a credit card or BPAY. SMS and email updates let everyone know what is happening with the bond and refunds can be agreed to and paid into bank accounts quickly, often overnight.

Find out more about this new service, watch the Rental Bonds Online videos available in Arabic, English, Korean, Mandarin and Vietnamese.
 

Protect yourself from underquoting  

From 1 January 2016, new underquoting laws start in NSW.

What is underquoting?
Underquoting is when an agent gives a buyer a property price lower than the agent’s estimated selling price in the sales agreement (the agent’s written contract with the seller).

Here's a simple checklist for property buyers to help them do the right thing.

What to DO
Before you spend money on buying a property: 
  • Know the highest price you are prepared to pay 
  • Consider related and ongoing costs, not just the property selling price 
  • If the agent provides an estimated selling price, use it as a guide only 
  • Research recent sale prices for similar properties in the area 
  • Visit different properties and auctions to see how the property market works

What NOT to do 

  • Don’t rely on prices that seem too good to be true 
  • Don’t rely on one person’s judgement – talk to other buyers and licensed property professionals and do your own research 

Visit our website for more information about underquoting available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean and Vietnamese.

 

Resources in other languages 

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Fair Trading have a range of FREE information in other languages to help educate consumers. Visit our website and select 'Languages' to access web pages and publications in over 30 languages. You can also access video and audio resources on specific topics relating to consumers and traders in community languages.
 

Multicultural community consultation

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This year, Fair Trading conducted a series of community consultations to help Fair Trading develop its Think Smart Multicultural Education Strategy for the next three years (2016-2019). The outcomes of the consultations will help develop the new Strategy to plan ways to effectively education culturally and linguistically (CALD) diverse consumers on consumer and tenancy issues.

Consultations were held at Newcastle, Wollongong, Lidcombe and Parramatta in collaboration with our Think Smart partners - Auburn Diversity Services, Community Migrant Resource Centre, Illawarra Multicultural Services and Northern Settlement Services. We would like to acknowledge the support and contribution provided by these community organisations. 

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Service providers participating the workshop on Buying goods and services at the consultation held in the Northern Settlement Services, Newcastle on 11 November 2015.

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Attendees at the community consultation held at Illawarra Multicultural Services, Wollongong on 12 November 2015. 

 

Think Smart community partners

Think Smart community partners

Think Smart program

Fair Trading runs a community education initiative through partnerships with community organisations and multicultural media to increase awareness and understanding of consumer rights issues by community members from CALD communities...... Read more about the Think Smart program 
 
fairtrading.nsw.gov.au