When Things Go Wrong

Objective: Improving access to and effectiveness of dispute resolution mechanisms.

While there is a significant range of dispute resolution processes and procedures across sectors and jurisdictions, this can create confusion for consumers. Recent survey data from the CAANZ Australian Consumer Survey provides evidence for consumer attitudes towards consumer protections and dispute resolution mechanisms. A notable finding was the fall in consumers’ self-reported awareness about their rights when purchasing products and services. The Victorian data indicates that in 2016, only 22 percent of participants indicated they “have a very good understanding” of their rights, down from 41 percent in 2011.

Ensuring consumers have confidence in, awareness of and access to, effective dispute resolution mechanisms is critical for the long-term sustainability of all markets. An assessment of the cost-effectiveness and consumer experience of various dispute resolution systems and processes across industries would allow for learnings to be shared about positive outcomes and the potential for a best-practice approach or guideline to be developed.

CPRC proposes to assess dispute resolution mechanisms across and within a range of sectors, to identify the kinds of processes, policies and procedures which deliver positive consumer experiences and outcomes.

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