CHOICE has joined forces with the NSW Department of Fair Trading in an 18-month pilot project to help identify ongoing consumer issues that add up to systemic failures.
Watchdog tracks serial offenders
Through the new Super-Complaints system, CHOICE will present evidence to NSW Fair Trading of market failure in any sector that presents significant risks to consumers. Fair Trading will then research and assess the issue and report publicly on actions.
Importantly, CHOICE is not accepting any government funding for the project.
“CHOICE has previously undertaken significant research work for NSW Fair Trading, on extended warranties and credit card surcharges and the organisations work well together, so I expect encouraging results from this pilot project,” said CHOICE CEO, Nick Stace.
The project is based on a super-complaints system operating successfully in the United Kingdom and involves the documentation of facts and evidence of market activities that pose a continuing threat to the safety and welfare of consumers.
Boost for consumer rights
Mr Stace said Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts has taken an important step toward strengthening consumer rights in the marketplace.
“Minister Roberts has shown early and decisive leadership in putting the consumer first and allowing this transformative power to be trailed in New South Wales. We hope that the Federal Government will respond by introducing a similar power at the national level.”
Super Complaints will give CHOICE the authority to formally refer repeat offenders in any sector – or the sector itself – to the scrutiny of Fair Trading.