Consumer Policy Research Centre submission to the Treasury Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS): Improving the Effectiveness of the Consumer Guarantee and Supplier Indemnification Provision Under the Australian Consumer Law.
Australian consumers benefit from a robust consumer protection regime. However, there remains a high number of consumers who are not able to access the right support or redress when things go wrong. CPRC is pleased to see Treasury progress this important reform. CPRC supports the proposal to strengthen consumer protections through the creation of civil penalties for businesses who fail to provide consumer guarantee remedies. We consider it essential to apply these changes across the economy rather than limit changes to one sector. CPRC does not support an education and guidance campaign as a stand-alone measure. We do see merit in additional education and guidance for consumers in combination with the implementation of civil penalties. A targeted, long-term integrated education and communication program should be developed that aims to raise consumer awareness and understanding of these changes. In addition, CPRC considers it is important to ensure consumers have the right support to effectively seek redress. It is important to provide access to alternative dispute resolution processes that are fit for purpose, quick and affordable for consumers.