Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    $8.4 million given back to Queenslanders

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Tuesday, January 22, 2019

    $8.4 million given back to Queenslanders

    Queenslanders received more than $8.4 million in refunds, repairs, replacements and other compensation with the help of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in 2018.

    Attorney-General and Justice Minister Yvette D’Ath said the number of complaints saw a small increase to OFT from 15,700 in 2017 to 16,000.

    “While it is disappointing that so many Queenslanders have found themselves dudded – whether it is by accident or otherwise – I’m pleased people are aware of their rights and are seeking help from the OFT,” she said.

    “Unfortunately, the sector that generated the most complaints to the OFT was the personal and household goods industry, which includes products such as televisions, appliances and furniture. It was followed by personal and household services, then motor vehicle sales.

    “Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), consumer goods must be of acceptable quality, match the description provided by the seller, and be fit for their intended purpose.”

    Mrs D’Ath said while the ACL did provide a measure of protection, it was time for the Federal LNP Government to ramp up protection for Queenslanders when it came to areas such as:

    • providing purchasers of ‘lemon’ motor vehicles an automatic right to a refund or replacement within the first 30 days without needing to prove a major failure;
    • banning fees for paper bills; and
    • taking serious action against ticket scalpers.

    “While the Palaszczuk Government is delivering important protection for Queenslanders who have bought a ‘lemon’, the Federal LNP Government also needs to take their foot off the brake, get into gear and do the same.”

    Mrs D’Ath said consumer protection legislation gave the OFT the power to pursue some matters all the way to court, but the OFT could not make a judgment or order on consumer complaints - only a tribunal or court had the power to do this.

    “In these cases, the OFT undertakes a conciliation process – a free informal service where OFT officers act as an intermediary between the consumer and the trader, explaining to both what their rights and responsibilities are under the legislation,” she said.

    “Conciliation won back more than $5 million in redress for complainants in 2018, with results ranging from a $40,800 refund for a car for a consumer in Brisbane’s Bracken Ridge, to $1800 worth of replacement equipment for a Sunshine Coast DJ.”

    The OFT also achieved more than $1.5 million in court-ordered compensation for consumers in 2018. The remaining redress was achieved through other OFT outcomes including Enforceable Undertakings and claims against the Agents Financial Administration Act 2014.

    Mrs D’Ath said the first thing consumers should do if they had a problem with goods or services was talk to the trader directly.

    “Usually, customer satisfaction is very important to businesses, and most will be happy to work with you to resolve your complaint,” she said.

    “However, if you are unsuccessful in getting the trader to help you, you can lodge a formal complaint with the OFT.”

    For more information on consumer rights, or to lodge a complaint, visit www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading.

    OFT Region

    Number of complaints finalised in 2018 for consumers of this region

    Top five industries complained about by these consumers in 2018

    Redress obtained by these OFT offices in 2018

    Brisbane *

    9873

    1. Personal & household goods
    2. Personal & household services
    3. Motor vehicle sales
    4. Real estate agents
    5. Motor vehicle repairs, servicing

    $3,817,942

    Cairns

    642

    1. Personal & household goods
    2. Motor vehicle sales
    3. Personal & household services
    4. Motor vehicle repairs, servicing
    5. Real estate agents

    $264,267

    Mackay

    322

    1. Personal & household goods
    2. Motor vehicle repairs, servicing
    3. Personal & household services
    4. Motor vehicle sales
    5. Real estate agents

    $516,120

    Rockhampton

    418

    1. Personal & household goods
    2. Motor vehicle repairs, servicing
    3. Motor vehicle sales
    4. Personal & household services
    5. Real estate agents

    $514,323

    Gold Coast

    2067

    1      Personal & household goods

    2      Personal & household services

    3      Motor vehicle sales

    4      Real estate agents

    5      Motor vehicle repairs, servicing

    $854,413

    Sunshine Coast

    1191

    1      Personal & household goods

    2      Motor vehicle sales

    3      Personal & household services

    4      Motor vehicle repairs, servicing

    5      Real estate agents

    $952,312

    Hervey Bay

    586

    1. Personal & household goods
    2. Motor vehicle sales
    3. Motor vehicle repairs, servicing
    4. Personal & household services
    5. Real estate agents

    $454,801

    Toowoomba

    510

    1. Personal & household goods
    2. Personal & household services
    3. Motor vehicle sales
    4. Motor vehicle repairs, servicing
    5. Electricity & gas supply

    $423,710

    Townsville

    454

    1. Personal & household goods
    2. Motor vehicle sales
    3. Personal & household services
    4. Motor vehicle repairs, servicing
    5. Electricity & gas supply

    $661,989

    TOTAL

     

     

    $8,459,880

     

    *includes consumers who reside outside Qld or provided no address

    **the redress figures provided are those obtained by each OFT region, they do not perfectly align with the individual complaint numbers as some matters may be handled by another OFT office for operational reasons and because some matters for which redress was obtained may have originated from information received rather than consumer complaints

    ENDS

      

    Media contact:

    Emma McBryde 0447 155 332