Consumer regulators have today released a report on their collaborative efforts in administering the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) over the last twelve months.
The report shines a light on some of the key policy, education and enforcement activities undertaken by the members of Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) during the 2018-19 financial year, and in doing so illustrates the success of the one-law, multiple regulator model established under the ACL.
Some of the highlights detailed in this year’s report include:
- the continued strengthening of consumer law protections with the ongoing implementation of proposals from the 2017 review of the ACL;
- the successful prosecution of Birubi Art Pty Ltd for its false representations that its products were authentic hand painted Australian Aboriginal art made in Australia;
- raising awareness amongst consumers of safety issues relating to a range of products and activities;
- initiating voluntary recalls for products that were deemed unsafe, including the recall of eyeliner containing lead;
- national gift card laws to ensure consumers have a reasonable period of time in which to use their gift cards before they expire, improve access to expiry information and end unfair fees. The new laws apply to gift cards supplied from 1 November 2019, protecting consumers who receive gift cards this Christmas;
- a national scams awareness campaign empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to fight scams;
- taking action against three major telecommunications businesses for false or misleading representations in regard to their third party billing practices; and
- achieving over $97 million dollars in collective enforcement outcomes in the form of fines, penalties, costs and compensation.
Current Chair of CAANZ and Commissioner for Consumer Protection Western Australia
David Hillyard said the report demonstrates the importance and benefit of regulator cooperation and collaboration across borders and jurisdictions.
‘One of CAANZ’s key objectives is to improve consumer wellbeing through consumer empowerment and protection. This report, by highlighting the tangible actions and outcomes of all of our collective efforts, shows how all of the ACL regulators are playing their part in achieving this objective’.