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GREETINGS!

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

In this issue I am pleased to highlight our newly produced multicultural resources to help you and your clients learn more about shopping rights and responsibilities.  

We are also covering relevant fair trading topics such as the new complaint register guidelines and loose-fill asbestos in some NSW homes. There are also other topics in this newsletter that may be relevant to you, your clients and communities.

If you have some positive stories on consumer and renting rights from you and your clients experiences please forward them, we would like to share them with our other community partners. We strive to deliver informative and appropriate information and would welcome any feedback and comments to help us achieve this. 

I look forward to hearing from you all.

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

Complaints register

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NSW Fair Trading will launch a new online Complaints Register in August this year. The Complaints Register will list businesses who receive 10 or more complaints made to Fair Trading in a calendar month.

We hope that by making some of our complaints information available to the public, businesses will have a reason to provide better customer service, and consumers will be helped to make better shopping decisions.

The Complaints Register will only include complaints that Fair Trading considers have been made by a real person and relate to a real interaction with a business. The Register will include:
  • the name of the business
  • the number of complaints that Fair Trading has received about the business in the last month 
  • the product categories
You can find out more how the Complaints Register will work, by reading the Guidelines available on our website on http://bit.ly/1V4OxfH 
 

New multicultural resources

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This year, four new languages has been added to the My Consumer Rights animatic video following receiving feedback from users such as English language providers, community organisations and bilingual community workers.

My Consumer Rights is a series of animatic videos about your rights and responsibilities when buying goods and services in Australia. The video will help provide awareness to new migrants, including emerging communities about their shopping rights and responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). It uses simple messages, together with universal symbols and gestures, to explain basic concepts of ACL especially on complex subjects such as consumer guarantees, warranties and contracts. They are particularly useful for intermediaries and English language educators working with new migrants to raise awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities. The videos feature the following 6 consumer rights topics:
  • My shopping rights
  • Shopping refunds
  • Guarantees and warranties
  • Contracts
  • Lay-by agreements
  • Resolving issues and lodging complaints

NSW Fair Trading’s My Consumer Rights video resource now boasts a total of 11 languages - Arabic, Assyrian, Dari, Dinka, English, Farsi, Karen, Mandarin, Nepalise, Tamil and Vietnamese and can be accessed from the Fair Trading website or viewed on YouTube at http://bit.ly/Ko8GwE

Think Smart partners, educators, service providers and community based organisations are encouraged to create a link on their website to the videos. Please refer to our linking policy conditions on our Copyright page.

 

Your rights with door-to-door salespeople

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Door-to-door sales including telemarketing are sales methods that can lead you agreeing to unsolicited consumer agreement. You have rights under these sales methods. Often, door-to-door salespeople and telemarketers use pressure tactics to influence you into buying something you may not need or can't afford. 

The Door-to-door sales: What you need to know is new brochure which outlines the  important things you need to know about your rights when a door-to-door salesperson or a telemarketer visits you at home.

Remember!  You don't have to buy or agree to anything, or sign an agreement if approached by a salesperson at your door. Place a 'Do Not Knock' sticker on your door, if you don't want salespeopl knocking at your door. 


The Door to door sales DL brochure can be downloaded from the Fair Trading website on www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

 

Fair Trading's new postcard

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NSW Fair Trading has developed a new postcard to help promote Fair Trading’s role and services, and what Fair Trading can do to help you, your clients and community members, especially those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, on shopping and renting rights issues.

The postcard was developed following feedback received from our community partners and other service providers. They are distibuted to community organisations, workers, English language providers and Service NSW Centres in metropolitan areas.

If you wish to obtain copies of the postcard email neneth.costa@finance.nsw.gov.au

 

Fair Trading Customer feedback form 

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Fair Trading welcomes, and actively seeks, feedback on its services. This Customer feedback form provides everyone an opportunity to do that. If you would like to comment or make a complaint about our services, please use the Customer feedback form.

The Customer feedback form is available in English and also in 6 community languages (Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese) and can be downloaded on the Fair Trading website.

Alternatively, you can phone our customer feedback assistance line on 9619 8671 to leave your details.

 

Loose-fill asbestos in NSW homes

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Loose-fill asbestos is a raw asbestos product that was installed in ceiling spaces in residential homes that were built before 1980. Residential homes can be free standing homes, units, homes or rural properties and residential homes attached to commercial properties.

It is important that any home that contains loose-fill asbestos insulation is located so the NSW Government can ensure your safety and the safety of your community. 

The NSW Government, through NSW Fair Trading, is providing free ceiling insulation sample testing to homeowners of pre-1980s residential properties in 28 NSW local government areas.

In Sydney metropolitan, these are Bankstown, Hornsby, Ku-ring-gai, Manly, North Sydney, Parramatta, The Hills and Warringah in the Sydney metropolitan area. In regional NSW Albury, Bega Valley, Berrigan, Bombala, Boorowa, Cooma Monaro, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwaree, Greater Hume, Lithgow, Narrandera, Orange, Palerang, Queanbeyan, Snowy River, Tumbarumba, Upper Lachlan, Wagga Wagga, Yass Valley and Young are included.

Homeowners who do not own a home in one of the 28 local government areas, but are concerned about loose-fill asbestos ceiling insulation can ring 13 77 88 for more information.

A homeowner cannot identify loose-fill asbestos insulation by looking at it. The only way is to have a licensed asbestos assessor takes samples of the ceiling insulation, which is then examined at an accredited laboratory. The laboratory test will identify what the insulation contains.

To know if a pre-1980’s property contains loose-fill asbestos insulation, homeowners can register for a free sample test at loosefillasbestos.nsw.gov.au or by calling 13 77 88.

Registration for free sample testing is only available in the 28 local government areas up to 1 August, 2016.

Tenants living in pre 1980s properties in the 28 local government areas should speak to their managing agent or their landlord about organising a free sample test.

 

A consumer Law - latest progress report online

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The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) is a single law which works to protect consumers and ensure that businesses operates within the law.

Every year, Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand publish a progress report on ACL. In the last financial year, 2014-15, a key focus area was on raising awareness, getting information and providing support for vulnerable consumers. A major education campaign 'a free gift could cost you thousands' warned consumers about the conduct of training providers using door-to-door sales techniques and offering incentives.

We encourage you to continue to be aware of this kind of sales activity. To understand more about your consumer rights and responsibilities, check out our website for information in other languages (Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese as well as English) on  http://bit.ly/1DtqDmv


To read the new progress report on the ACL, please visit: http://bit.ly/1RhaVfV

 

Driver test wait times slashed across NSW

A dedicated Service NSW Driver Test Centre at Silverwater is now officially opened to help reduce driver test wait times across the state, which dropped significantly in the last year.

The huge reduction in driver test showed the Governent was continuing to deliver on its commitment to improve service delivery. Getting a driver's licence is an important milestone in people's lives, and Service NSW is making that process faster and more convenient than ever. 

Since the introduction of Service NSW, capacity for driver testing has increased, with Service Centres at Liverpool, Wetherill Park, Botany, Bankstown, Blacktown, Castle Hill, Macarthur, Ryde and Miranda each now equipped to deliver up to ten driver tests simultaneously. 

Extended Service NSW hours have also boosted capacity, with driver tests starting from 7am at many Centres across Sydney.

As demand continues to grow, it is vital that the driving system remains robust and able to meet the demand, which is why Service NSW continues to make increased capacity a priority. Customers can book a driving test online at service.nsw.gov.au
 

Mobile phone premium service and direct carrier billing traps   

Fair Trading warned NSW residents to be wary of premium services and in-app purchases that consumer may have unwittingly subscribed to and are paying for through their monthly telephone bills.

Fair Trading has received complaints from consumers left baffled by charges for extra services they have no recollection of signing up for and do not want. Customers should be aware that when payment is made for a download of a particular item such as a novelty ring tone, there may be hidden charges in the form of ongoing monthly subscriptions the consumer is automatically signed up for. It's called Direct Carrier Billing and while it is a legitimate system by third party companies to enable payment for content on mobiles or tablets we are seeing more evidence of misuse. 

Users should receive a confirmation SMS on activation of both premium services and Direct Carrier Billing, in addition to monthly reminders from the third party service providers if one is subscribed. 

Consumers can contact their service providers and an ask them to bar all calls and messages from premium service providers. To resolve problems with your service providers contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) on 1800 062 058. Consumers who are unsure can contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

 

SDRO does not issue fines by email - they are issued on the spot or by post

In light of continued email scams demanding payment of fake penalty notices, State Debt Recovery Office would like to clarify how we may contact you about your penalty notices or enforcement orders.

Penalty notices are either issued on the spot (served in person or placed on a vehicle) or by post. If you ask for information, review, or copies of your fine/s, they may respond by email. Where you have previously provided them with your email address or mobile number, SDRO may send a final courtesy reminder email or SMS when your penalty reminder notice is overdue so you can avoid the $65 enforcement fee and debt recovery action.

These messages are supplementary to the formal penalty notices and penalty reminder notices served in person, on a vehicle or by post. SDRO do not attach copies of notices to these reminders. They may send courtesy confirmation of your payment of a fine and notifications in regard to your payment arrangements (by email or SMS). 

You can check the the legitimacy of a penalty notice or enforcement order issues in NSW by using the self service portals myPenalty or myEnforcementOrder.
 

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.
 

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