01.Greater accountability for suppliers
Consumers purchasing water-usage products can now have greater confidence in the star system used to rate energy efficiency, after changes to the ratings scheme were passed in Parliament.
Under the changes to the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) Scheme, suppliers will be required to take greater responsibility in ensuring star ratings provided to consumers (at the point of sale) are accurate and in line with the objectives of the scheme.
The Scheme was introduced in 2005 to encourage Australians to conserve water supplies.
While consumers won’t notice big changes when buying washing machines, dishwashers and other popular water-using products, CHOICE believes the improvements to the scheme’s efficiency and effectiveness are an overall step in the right direction for both consumers and industry.
Consumer interests will be protected under increased powers to be handed to the government regulator. Suppliers will be required to produce evidence of water efficiency testing when requested by WELS inspectors, and may be forced to cease the sale of products found to be non-compliant.
Industry will also take a greater role in ensuring the Scheme fulfils its responsibility to adequatley educate consumers at the point of sale in order to encourage an overall reduction in water consumption.
To ensure suppliers do act in the best interests of the consumer, and not their sales figures, they will be subject to civil penalties for providing false and misleading information. Sole traders will be fined $6600, and corporations $33 000, for attempting to register, or for selling products as WELS-compliant, when they are not.
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