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Greetings to you all!

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Welcome to the November 2017 edition of our Think Smart quarterly newsletter


We hope you find the information in this edition useful. Please help us circulate the information by forwarding this newsletter to your networks.

Subscribe to the Think Smart enewsletter.

For more information about the topics in this newsletter visit our website at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

 

My Consumer Rights educational resource   

My Consumer Rights_storybook

NSW Fair Trading has recently produced My Consumer Rights education resource consisting of a storybook in English and videos (in DVD format) in 11 community languages.

The resource was designed to help new migrants, (including new and emerging communities and humanitarian entrants) understand their basic consumer rights and responsibilities when buying goods and services in Australia.

The videos are available in 11 languages: English, Arabic, Assyrian, Dari, Dinka, Farsi, Karen, Mandarin, Nepalese, Tamil and Vietnamese.

Visit our website to download My Consumer Rights Storybook (PDF format only). The videos can be viewed on YouTube and our website . If you would like a copy of the DVD version please email neneth.costa@finance.nsw.gov.au 

 

New Think Smart partners

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Two new community organisations and one multicultural media outlet have signed up Fair Trading's Think Smart program at the  Multicultural Media Conference held at Western Sydney University, Parramatta campus on 31 October. 

The new Think Smart partners are: Settlement Services International (SSI), Cherrybrook Chinese Community Association and Sound of Hope Global Radio Network. 

Above:
Minister Matt Kean, Minister for Better Regulation after signing the Think Smart partnership certificates with representatives from our new Think Smart partners.
From left to right: Peter Zographakis, (Settlement Services International (SSI)), Minister Matt Kean, Jenny Lau, (Cherrybrook Chinese Community Association), Michael Lam (Sound of Hope Global Radio Network) and Minister Ray Williams, Minister for Disability Services and Multiculturalism.

Below: Minister Matt Kean with some of the attendees of the Multicultural Media Conference.

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Gift cards and vouchers 3-year minimum expiry date

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In October 2017, changes to the expiry date of gift cards and gift vouchers were passed by the NSW Parliament. 

The changes which will be implemented in 2018 will introduce a mandatory 3-year minimum expiry date on gift cards and gift vouchers sold to consumers in NSW.

Businesses will also be banned from applying post-purchase administrative fees, which have the effect of reducing the balance left on a card. 

NSW consumers are losing benefits because of their inability to redeem gift cards and gift vouchers that have expired. The changes could help address this ongoing financial harm, better protect consumers and provide certainty of their rights.
 

Installation of window safety locks in strata

To prevent children falling from windows, the owners corporation in strata schemes must have window safety devices installed on all applicable windows by 13 March 2018. This applies to openable windows where the internal floor is more than 2m above the ground surface outside and within a child's reach (less than 1.7m above the inside floor) – see the diagram below.

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The devices must enable the maximum opening to be less than 12.5cm. However, a device that allows the window to be fully opened, fully closed and also locked at less than 12.5cm complies with the legislation. As long as the opening can be limited to less than 12.5cm, complying safety devices include devices attached to a window frame or robust bars, but not lightweight fly screens. The device must also be able to withstand a force of 250 Newtons (which is equal to 25 kilograms of force). When children are in the unit or townhouse, it makes sense to use the devices at all times to prevent falls.

Lot owners may install a window safety device in their property at any time, letting the owners corporation know. Tenants must get written permission from their landlord before installing locks that require drilling. Landlords cannot refuse a tenant's request unless they have a very good reason.

Find out more about window safety device requirements on our website.

 

Strata schemes by-laws review: 30 November

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A reminder that strata laws require all schemes to have reviewed their by-laws by 30 November 2017.

This was the chance for strata owners (at a meeting of the owners corporation) to consider whether their existing by-laws were still suitable or if changes are needed to improve the scheme's operation.

If, as a result of the review, a scheme proposes changes to the by-laws, these must be put to a special resolution vote at a meeting of the owners corporation. The new by-laws must also be registered with the NSW Land Registry Services within 6 months after the special resolution has been passed. This can be done by lodging a Consolidation/Change of By-laws form. Tenants must also be informed of any change in by-laws.

If no changes are needed as a result of the by-law review, nothing further needs to be done.
For more information on by-laws, visit our by-laws in your strata scheme page

 

Retirement Village Calculator

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NSW Fair Trading has developed the Retirement Village Calculator, an easy-to-use online tool, to help potential residents work out the estimated costs of retirement village living. 

There are two calculators that can be used depending on the resident's situation. Each calculator provides a cost estimate of the entry fees, ongoing fees, and exit fees

The basic calculator gives a general overview for those in the early stages of considering moving to a retirement village. The detailed calculator provides a more tailored result and is designed to be used with the new Standard fees and charges table. This table forms part of disclosure statements provided to prospective residents (after 1 September 2017) when they show an interest in a retirement village unit. 

To learn more and to use the calculator visit the Retirement Village Calculator website.

 

New laws to target ticket scalping 

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In 2018 new laws will be introduced regarding unfair ticket sale practices caused by scalping. 

These new laws which were passed by the NSW Parliament in October 2017 will prohibit anyone from reselling a ticket to a NSW event for more than the original sale price, plus the transaction costs incurred in the original purchase.

Transactions costs would be capped at 10 per cent of the initial sale price.

Ticket scalpers systematically buy large numbers of sport and entertainment event tickets with the sole aim of re-selling at a high profit above the initial purchase price.

The use of 'bot' software is now also banned as part of the changes. Bots are computer programs that allow ticket scalpers to circumvent the security measures on ticketing websites to rapidly buy tickets in large quantities and place them on re-sale sites at inflated prices.

The changes also require greater transparency over the number of tickets available for general purchase at certain events.

 

Download the free FuelCheck app and save petrol 

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Want to save money at the petrol bowser this holiday period? Download the NSW Government’s new FuelCheck app, the free tool giving motorists a bird’s-eye view of real-time petrol prices across the state.

The app will search for fuel by price, location, fuel type and even brand, making it quicker and easier than ever to find the best deal on fuel, wherever you are in NSW.

FuelCheck brings a new level of transparency to fuel pricing in NSW, giving you the chance to save 10, 20, sometimes even 40 cents a litre on your weekly fuel bill. Over a year, the savings available to FuelCheck users can amount to hundreds of dollars.

The convenience of the FuelCheck app means you can compare real-time petrol prices before leaving your driveway. No more guesswork, no more driving around looking for the best deal.

With over 2000 service stations in NSW uploading fuel prices in real time, FuelCheck offers money-saving insights to motorists right across the state.

Download the free FuelCheck app from the App Store or Google Play today and start saving.

 

The sharing economy: Know your rights, know the rules 

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There’s a good chance you’ve heard of platforms like Uber and Airbnb. These platforms and many others are part of the sharing economy.

While sharing economy platforms can provide a new and convenient experience for purchasing and hiring goods or services, questions around consumer and trader protection often come with the new territory.

If you hire or buy goods and services through an online marketplace or sharing economy platform, you are protected by the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) if things go wrong, in the same way as you would be if you were to buy in a store.

If things do go wrong, you can follow these steps to help resolve the issue:

  • speak to the seller or service provider
  • contact the platform through their internal dispute resolution process, if they have one
  • write a factual customer review and rate the trader on the platform
  • lodge a complaint with the consumer affairs agency in your state or territory.

Whether you are the trader or consumer in the sharing economy, it is important to remember that your standard rights and responsibilities still apply under Australian Consumer Law.

For more information on your rights and responsibilities in the sharing economy is available at consumerlaw.gov.au/sharingeconomy

 

New publications in other languages

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Fair Trading has updated the content of the following brochures below which were distributed at the Think Smart Multicultural Media Conference in October.   
  • Shopping and consumer guarantees brochure (Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean and Vietnamese).This brochure provides detailed information to consumers about their rights around guarantees and warranties when buying goods and services.

These brochures were also distributed to our Think Smart partners. To download a copy visit our community language page.  

 

Ask a Fair Trading expert to speak at your next events

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Fair Trading works with community groups to deliver FREE tailored information sessions to consumers.

Why not ask a Fair Trading speaker to present at your next event?

Topics include: Know your shopping rights, be scam aware, buying safe products, buying a car, hiring a tradesperson and renting a home.

Fair Trading's community engagement team will work with you to develop an interactive session tailored to your group's size and needs. Our information will cater to your specific audience (eg. young people, CALD, seniors, Aboriginal communities, or people with a disability).

To find out more and to request a free speaker, email FairTradingSeminars@finance.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20 and speak to your local Community Liaison Coordinator. We can attend locations throughout NSW.

 

Feedback about Fair Trading's services

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NSW Fair Trading is committed to providing high quality, efficient, timely and responsive services. If you have a complaint or compliment about the way we do things or have suggestions on how we could do things better, we would love to hear from you.

Feedback helps us review and improve our services, staff and complaint handling. Please contact us if you have any feedback, so that appropriate action can be taken and we can learn from your experience. Anonymous feedback can provide us with useful pointers to service improvements but we won’t be able to respond to you about your concerns.

We will maintain confidentiality and protect the identity of people providing feedback where this is practical and appropriate.

There are many ways you can provide us with your feedback including using our Customer feedback form in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. Visit our website for more details on how to do it on  www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

 

Resources in other languages 

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Fair Trading provides 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 in community languages on specific topics relating to consumers and traders.

 

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