Online education courses

Online learning platforms can suffer from bad design, poor delivery or worse.
 
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01 .Introduction

online-education

The online education and training industry is growing, and without doing some research you could end up with no accreditation, the wrong accreditation, or just be stuck with a poorly designed, ineffective course.

The online education and training industry in Australia grew 22% per year between 2006 and 2011, and currently generates an estimated $4bn in annual turnover. As of last year it employed about 16,500 people across 956 businesses. 

That’s a lot of teaching and training, and a lot of money. And those figures don’t include universities or training centres that offer less than 80% of their courses online.

Market expansion at this pace can leave consumers vulnerable to poor service and fraud, with regulation forced to play catch-up. And, in some cases at least, the online learning industry is no exception. Consumers who contacted CHOICE about online courses said lack of certainty around testing and certification, funny business with fees and patchy technical support were the major issues they’d encountered.

For more information about the internet, see networking and internet.

Price check

“Make sure you find out about exams and how you get your certification and if you have to pay for exams,” Walter Buratto tells us. He bailed out of an online information technology course because it “just gave you access to all certifications but no advice about where to start if you were new to IT. Email support wouldn’t answer your questions directly and every time it was a different person”. Andrea Eves agrees. “Sometimes I wonder why we have to pay so much when the available support is limited.”

Anyone can set up an online learning or training program, so how do you know if you’ll end up with a real accreditation or relinquish your money to an opportunist who may be running the business from their kitchen table or who isn’t qualified? See our tips for choosing an online education course.

In the first five months of 2012, NSW Fair Trading received an average of 10 complaints a month in relation to online courses, with lack of technical support among the top complaints. Consumers also had to chase after refunds because the business closed down, or they were promised study material that never arrived. They also complained about misrepresented course content or accreditation value, as well as about costs being added after the course had started.

NSW Fair Trading is less than sanguine about some segments of the industry. “Each year we receive complaints from students about training and educational courses regarding fees and refunds, misleading information and course quality,” a spokesperson told us. “Consumers are advised to be wary when selecting vocational education and training courses.” Consumer Affairs Victoria says online training and education businesses should be on notice that the new AustralianConsumer Law regime has tightened the reins and makes it a crime to “make statements that are misleading or deceptive or would be likely to mislead or deceive” or “rely on small print and disclaimers”.

Is it legit?

One easy way to avoid being duped is to make sure the course is listed on a recently launched national register of training organisations and accredited courses. A listing ensures the course can deliver nationally recognised qualifications, but is no guarantee that it will be well run or the digital platform well designed. And if you’re forced to seek assistance, the kind of customer service frustration commonly associated with telcos may be in store. 

If you find yourself spending more time figuring out how to make the online platform work than learning the material, and if support is hard to come by – or the quality of the course doesn’t live up to its advertising – the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will take your complaint, as long as the course is run by a registered training organisation (RTO). This federal agency acts as a watchdog to ensure RTOs deliver vocational education and training that meets nationally approved standards.

Another federal initiative, the Australian Qualifications Framework, provides a national policy for ensuring qualifications are up to scratch. ASQA prepared an up-to-date complaint report for CHOICE, which showed that assessment methods and processes form the highest complaint category, followed by marketing tactics. 

Not far behind these are training delivery and the quality of the trainers. ASQA corporate communications manager Diana Martinez says the online environment has built-in shortcomings when it comes to “assessing competencies” and that the authority has concerns about “how training providers ensure the validity and authenticity of assessment, and how the online training materials meet the requirements of the national industry competency standards”. Martinez says ASQA is in the process of updating a checklist on its website to help consumers avoid dodgy operators.

 
 

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Shopping and legalTue, 02 Aug 2011 10:23:00 GMT
Shopping online for overseas goods http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/shopping-online-for-overseas-goods.aspx

Buying from foreign retailers has netted Australians big discounts. We look into the current state of play for online shopping.

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Shopping and legalWed, 06 Jul 2011 17:50:00 GMT
Pitfalls for tall consumers http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/pitfalls-for-tall-consumers.aspx

Tall consumers are getting the short end of the stick in everything from buying clothes to travelling on planes, trains and in cars.

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Shopping and legalThu, 23 Jun 2011 17:32:00 GMT
Bargain book buys http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/book_buying_guide.aspx

Chain, independent or online book retailers – we size up the options.

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Shopping and legalTue, 05 Apr 2011 10:32:00 GMT
Resolving a financial complaint http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/making-a-financial-complaint.aspx

Dealing directly with banks and other financial services providers to resolve disputes is usually more effective than taking the matter to court.

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Shopping and legalThu, 17 Mar 2011 10:44:00 GMT
Savings at the cinema http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/cinema-rip-offs.aspx

With movie ticket and candy bar prices continuing to rise, can a night at the movies be affordable?

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Shopping and legalThu, 10 Mar 2011 15:44:00 GMT
Funeral costs http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/funeral-costs.aspx

CHOICE found that funeral costs fluctuate wildly. We highlight ways to get a fair deal.

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Shopping and legalWed, 09 Feb 2011 16:08:00 GMT
High tech shopping http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/high-tech-shopping.aspx

CHOICE takes a closer look at the high-tech devices in supermarkets now, and those on the way.

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Shopping and legalThu, 20 Jan 2011 15:23:00 GMT
Mother's Day guide http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/mothers-day-guide.aspx

Our busy mums are faced with a myriad of decisions every day. We believe they should have the best advice at their fingertips this Mothers' Day.

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Shopping and legalFri, 24 Dec 2010 15:34:00 GMT
Group buying websites http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/coupon-websites.aspx

Some of the best consumer bargains can be found online through coupon websites.

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Shopping and legalThu, 25 Nov 2010 09:00:00 GMT
Charity Christmas cards http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/charity-christmas-cards.aspx

Buying direct from the charity is often a better way to get your money direct to the good cause.

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Shopping and legalThu, 04 Nov 2010 16:01:00 GMT
Cash for gold http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/gold-jewellery.aspx

CHOICE visited 10 gold-buying shops in Sydney with a ring and two necklaces, and was offered between 39% and 89% of the gold value for the items.

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Shopping and legalWed, 20 Oct 2010 14:53:00 GMT
Drycleaning dramas http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/drycleaning.aspx

Inaccurate care labels could be at the heart of many drycleaning mishaps.

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Shopping and legalFri, 08 Oct 2010 12:10:00 GMT
What annoys Australians? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/what-annoys-australians.aspx

Hidden fees, faulty products, endless phone menus - Australians' biggest complaints are consumer and/or product-related.

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Shopping and legalFri, 01 Oct 2010 12:34:00 GMT
Made in Australia? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/made in australia.aspx

Current labelling laws are broad and inconsistent even within the same industry. Country of origin and other claims, mixed with marketing hype, are confusing shoppers.

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Shopping and legalMon, 30 Aug 2010 19:57:00 GMT
Movies on the cheap http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/movie-rentals.aspx

We outline the benefits and pitfalls so you can find which way saves you money.

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Shopping and legalTue, 10 Aug 2010 09:46:00 GMT
Spectacles buying guide http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/spectacles-buying-guide.aspx

Our price guide takes you through the confusing array of extras and options to explain exactly what you need to look for when shopping for specs.

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Shopping and legalFri, 02 Jul 2010 14:17:00 GMT
Bottleshop prices http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/bottleshops.aspx

See our CHOICE price comparison of wine, beer and spirit prices at a number of different outlets.

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Shopping and legalMon, 31 May 2010 14:00:00 GMT
Will kits http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/will-kits.aspx

An up-to-date, detailed will is essential for protecting your loved ones. We look at the basics you need to have covered.

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Shopping and legalWed, 24 Mar 2010 12:30:00 GMT
CHOICE 50th anniversary http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/choice-50th-anniversary.aspx

From the sixties through to the noughties, CHOICE TV captures all the highlights.

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Shopping and legalTue, 23 Mar 2010 16:40:00 GMT
Know your rights http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/know-your-rights.aspx

What can you do when you know you’re getting a raw deal, but don't know what to do about it? Read on.

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Shopping and legalTue, 12 Jan 2010 13:22:00 GMT
Weddings - at what price? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/wedding-investigation.aspx

This year Australian couples are expected to spend an estimated $3.7 billion on their big day - but can you be sure you're paying what you should?

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Shopping and legalThu, 10 Dec 2009 11:12:00 GMT
Best online shopping sites http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/best-christmas-shopping-sites.aspx

We save you time and effort by bringing you a list of the best online sites for books and CDS, clothes, electronics, as well as as cosmetics and fragrances.

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Shopping and legalTue, 10 Nov 2009 15:29:00 GMT
Hidden fees in phone cards http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/hidden-fees-in-phone-cards.aspx

Extra costs, such as “service” fees that gobble up credit even when you’re not making calls are often not advertised on the posters or phone cards.

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Shopping and legalFri, 25 Sep 2009 11:17:00 GMT
Cashbacks not always a good deal http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/cashback-capers.aspx

Retail and manufacturing marketing execs are certainly onto a winner with cashback schemes, but consumer benefit is not as guaranteed.

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Shopping and legalSat, 13 Dec 2008 10:36:00 GMT
Duty-free is it worth it? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/duty-free-is-it-worth-it.aspx

Duty-free shopping was one of the perks of travelling overseas. The introduction of GST saw a whole raft taxes phased out, so is still good value?

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Shopping and legalTue, 23 Aug 2005 11:42:00 GMT
CHOICE - Shopping and legal http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal.aspxIndependent and trusted tests, investigations and buying guides to help you save money when you are shopping and knowing your rights from CHOICE Australia. Copyright 2014 www.choice.com.auen-au http://www.choice.com.au/img/logo_choice.gif www.choice.com.au http://www.choice.com.auWed, 01 Oct 2014 00:02:07 GMTMoneyLowest price and price-match guarantees http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/lowest-price-guarantees-price-matching.aspx

In many cases, a lowest-price guarantee isn't actually guaranteeing the lowest price.

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Shopping and legalWed, 24 Sep 2014 12:06:00 GMT
The cost of weddings http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/the-cost-of-weddings.aspx

CHOICE investigates if couples planning a wedding get quoted higher prices than other consumers, for exactly the same thing.

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Shopping and legalThu, 28 Aug 2014 09:29:00 GMT
Coles' partnership with GE Capital raises concerns http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/coles-partnership-with-ge-capital-raises-concerns.aspx

With supermarket giant Coles announcing a looming joint venture with credit provider GE Capital, consumers could be getting more than they bargained for when they signed up for flybuys.

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Shopping and legalThu, 31 Jul 2014 17:40:00 GMT
Know your consumer rights http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/know-your-consumer-rights.aspx

Australian consumers are automatically protected by guarantees which give consumers the rights they expect when they buy goods and services.

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Shopping and legalMon, 14 Jul 2014 14:58:00 GMT
Unit pricing rules not always followed http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/unit-pricing-rules-not-always-followed.aspx

Tricky packaging and labelling are a big part of how businesses sell products these days. Unit pricing is supposed to help you look past the marketing to compare prices and find the best value for money.

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Shopping and legalMon, 14 Jul 2014 10:11:00 GMT
Discount diva: how to live it up for less http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/discount-diva-how-to-live-it-up-for-less.aspx

Want to save money while still enjoying the finer things in life? CHOICE journalist Zoya Sheftalovich is a discount queen for a week.

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Shopping and legalWed, 02 Jul 2014 17:10:00 GMT
Unfair contracts http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/unfair-contracts.aspx

A contract is a legally enforceable agreement. If it's a standard form contract you are expected to sign or click I AGREE. But if one of the terms are unfair, you might have a right to have the term declared void.

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Shopping and legalTue, 17 Jun 2014 17:16:00 GMT
Rental rights http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/rental-rights.aspx

From no-grounds evictions to limited leases, we learn that long-term rental security is almost non-existent for Australian tenants.

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Shopping and legalThu, 12 Jun 2014 16:48:00 GMT
Consumer harassment and coercion http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/harassment-and-coercion.aspx

Businesses can't force you into buying goods or services that you don't want.

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Shopping and legalTue, 10 Jun 2014 16:13:00 GMT
Unsolicited supplies http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/unsolicited-supplies.aspx

If you receive goods or services that you didn't order, you don't have to pay for them.

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Shopping and legalTue, 10 Jun 2014 09:05:00 GMT
Selling and trading your things online http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/how-to-get-rid-of-stuff-you-no-longer-need.aspx

We've all got stuff we no longer want, need or use taking up space around the house. So how do you get the most of your useless junk?

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Shopping and legalWed, 04 Jun 2014 10:24:00 GMT
Pyramid schemes http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/pyramid-schemes.aspx

Pyramid schemes are illegal schemes that promise wealth but depend on an endless supply of new members. You're taking a big risk with your money if you invest in a pyramid scheme.

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Shopping and legalWed, 21 May 2014 17:27:00 GMT
Pricing problems http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/pricing.aspx

What happens when a retailer displays more than one price? What can I do about misleading prices?

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Shopping and legalTue, 13 May 2014 16:05:00 GMT
Telemarketers and door-to-door sales http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/telemarketers-and-door-to-door-sales.aspx

What rights do you have when a telemarketer calls you and tries to sell you something you don't want, or a salesperson knocks on your door and tries the hard sell?

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Shopping and legalFri, 09 May 2014 16:20:00 GMT
Buying cheaper clothing online http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/buying-cheaper-clothing-online.aspx

Blocked from shopping at your favourite overseas online clothes store? There are ways to get around it.

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Shopping and legalTue, 22 Apr 2014 08:55:00 GMT
One cent and penny auction investigation http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/penny-auction-investigation.aspx

CHOICE looks into reports of dodgy dealings in online penny auctions, where you seemingly win items for low prices, but may end up paying more than you bargained for.

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Shopping and legalTue, 15 Apr 2014 09:41:00 GMT
The problems with ticketing http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Ticket-pricing.aspx

We investigate the problems associated with buying tickets through agents, cinemas, and from scalpers.

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Shopping and legalFri, 28 Mar 2014 09:46:00 GMT
Wine and coffee mark-ups http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/eating-out-mark-ups.aspx

When you choose a bottle of wine in a restaurant you could be paying up to 250% more than if you BYO. How do restaurants justify this price hike?

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Shopping and legalWed, 26 Mar 2014 14:48:00 GMT
Extended warranties http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/extended-warranties.aspx

Consumers are already covered by the Australian Consumer Law's automatic guarantees, so do you need an extended warranty too?

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Shopping and legalThu, 27 Feb 2014 09:42:00 GMT
Trans-Pacific Partnership secretly trading away rights http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/Trans-pacific-Partnership-secretly-trading-away-rights.aspx

Leaked drafts of the secretive TPP agreement indicate that consumer rights and protections, food labelling and affordable medication are all up for grabs.

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Shopping and legalTue, 11 Feb 2014 10:31:00 GMT
Fit for purpose? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/not-fit-for-purpose.aspx

Consumers buy products that don’t do what they should on a daily basis, so what are your rights when it comes to getting what you paid for?

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Shopping and legalMon, 16 Dec 2013 12:03:00 GMT
The five scams of Christmas http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Christmas-scams.aspx

Christmas is a once-a-year opportunity to scam consumers out of their money. Scams cost Australians $93m last year, plenty of which targeted holiday shoppers. We take a look at some of the worst offenders.

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Shopping and legalWed, 04 Dec 2013 14:34:00 GMT
Shopping centre design http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/shopping-centre-design.aspx

CHOICE investigates the tricks of the trade behind shopping centre design, and how these are encourage you to stay longer and shop more.

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Shopping and legalTue, 03 Dec 2013 12:45:00 GMT
Consumer law and extended warranties http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Consumer-law-and-extended-warranties.aspx

A CHOICE shadow shop reveals that sales staff at Australia’s biggest electronics retailers have a limited or no understanding of their obligations under the Australian Consumer Law.

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Shopping and legalWed, 27 Nov 2013 12:08:00 GMT
Interest-free shopping offers http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/interest-free-deals.aspx

Long-term payment deals can cost you hundreds of dollars in fees alone, even if you pay everything off within the interest-free period.

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Shopping and legalMon, 18 Nov 2013 17:08:00 GMT
Sustainable shopping bags http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/sustainable-shopping-bags.aspx

The latest in the war on plastic.

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Shopping and legalWed, 06 Nov 2013 11:49:00 GMT
The trouble with gift cards http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/the-trouble-with-gift-cards.aspx

Watch for short expiry dates if you're tempted by the convenience of a gift card.

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Shopping and legalWed, 06 Nov 2013 07:00:00 GMT
Companies that are difficult to contact http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/Companies-that-are-hard-to-contact.aspx

CHOICE is asking companies to make their contact details more accessible, after finding some businesses are playing hard to get.

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Shopping and legalMon, 04 Nov 2013 13:38:00 GMT
How to save on international phone calls http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/How-to-save-on-international-phone-calls.aspx

Keeping up with friends and family overseas can be expensive, so we show you how to cut your phone bill.

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Shopping and legalTue, 15 Oct 2013 16:42:00 GMT
Counterfeit goods http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Counterfeit-goods.aspx

Knock-off products are no longer easily identified by misspelled logos and shoddy craftsmanship. While the quality of counterfeit products appears to be improving, the counterfeiters are also getting smarter at marketing their products.

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Shopping and legalThu, 12 Sep 2013 00:01:00 GMT
Duty-free shopping http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Duty-free-shopping.aspx

Deals in airport duty-free shops may not be the best offer in town.

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Shopping and legalWed, 11 Sep 2013 12:34:00 GMT
Franchisee rights http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/Franchisee-rights.aspx

For consumers, franchises can be a dependable port of call in a crowded marketplace. But many Australians have paid dearly for signing on the dotted line to run their own franchise outlet, generally because they were led to believe one thing but working for a franchisor turned out to be another.

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Shopping and legalThu, 22 Aug 2013 09:41:00 GMT
Make the most of your representatives http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/Make-the-most-of-your-representatives.aspx

It can be easy to forget that politicians' purpose is to represent their constituents - you. So what is it exactly that politicians do, and how can you get them to represent you?

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Shopping and legalTue, 13 Aug 2013 17:28:00 GMT
Customer service online http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Shopping online.aspx

Which of these online stores has the best customer service and returns policy?

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Shopping and legalTue, 13 Aug 2013 10:56:00 GMT
Pet premiums http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Veterinarian costs.aspx

Costs for vet service can vary widely, and it doesn't help that there are no standard fee guidelines. Most vets no doubt deserve your trust, but with corporate vet franchises on the rise, upselling and overcharging are legitimate consumer concerns.

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Shopping and legalMon, 22 Jul 2013 12:20:00 GMT
Kids' sports fees http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Kids-sports-fees.aspx

A healthy cut of junior soccer fees gets siphoned off to pay for elite regional teams. It's all about growing the game - but there's little or no support going back to the juniors.

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Shopping and legalWed, 17 Jul 2013 15:56:00 GMT
Competition tricks and traps http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Competitions-fine-print.aspx

You may find yourself getting more than you bargained for when you enter a competition

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Shopping and legalThu, 27 Jun 2013 08:11:00 GMT
Faded receipts http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Faded receipts.aspx

We look at your rights when it comes to receipts that have faded and what you can do to prevent them from fading.

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Shopping and legalMon, 13 May 2013 16:17:00 GMT
Consumer sharing http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/consumer-sharing.aspx

Consumer sharing is growing in popularity to meet today’s buyer demands. It’s energy efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective, and it’s now easier than ever.

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Shopping and legalTue, 23 Apr 2013 09:07:00 GMT
Shopping loyalty cards http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/shopping-loyalty-cards.aspx

CHOICE found that most loyalty programs offer such poor rewards you generally save less than a dollar per $100 spent.

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Shopping and legalThu, 11 Apr 2013 09:49:00 GMT
Who owns my brands? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Who-owns-my-brands.aspx

Find out which multinationals own the brands sitting on the shelves of your local supermarket.

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Shopping and legalTue, 09 Apr 2013 15:22:00 GMT
Celebrity endorsements http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Celebrity-endorsements.aspx

Celebrities have been spruiking products for years. We look at the persuasive power of these endorsements, and whether they're all just hot air.

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Shopping and legalWed, 13 Mar 2013 17:12:00 GMT
Cause for concern? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/charitable-giving.aspx

The fundraising industry says personalised pens, pad, and address labels are an effective marketing ploy for inspiring generosity, but potential donors tell a different story.

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Shopping and legalFri, 08 Mar 2013 09:40:00 GMT
Outsourcing household chores http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Outsourcing-household-chores.aspx

We check out how you can outsource various household chores, such as cleaning, dogwalking and general home maintenance, to ease the squeeze on your work-life balance.

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Shopping and legalMon, 04 Mar 2013 15:54:00 GMT
Your guide to self-storage http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Your-guide-to-self-storage.aspx

With a trend towards high-density living, more Australians are turning to self-storage as a short- or long-term solution for lack of space.

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Shopping and legalTue, 26 Feb 2013 11:56:00 GMT
Wrap rage http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Packaging.aspx

Some types of packaging are impossible to open for certain consumers and may even inflict injury. We've uncovered the main offenders.

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Shopping and legalMon, 18 Feb 2013 14:25:00 GMT
Pricing tricks http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/pricing-tricks.aspx

Whether you’re doing the grocery shopping or looking a mobile phone deal, get the best value for money every time avoiding top pricing tricks.

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Shopping and legalFri, 01 Feb 2013 14:57:00 GMT
Review websites http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Review sites.aspx

While consumers like to buy things that have been reviewed and recommended by others, we find you can't always trust the recommendations you find online.

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Shopping and legalWed, 23 Jan 2013 17:30:00 GMT
Living wills http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/Advance-care-directives.aspx

With Australians living longer and often facing a drawn-out decline, being clear about your future healthcare plans is more important than ever.

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Shopping and legalTue, 22 Jan 2013 16:21:00 GMT
How can ombudsman services help you? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/Ombudsman-overview.aspx

Consumers have a lot to gain from understanding how ombudsman services operate and how the complaint process works.

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Shopping and legalWed, 28 Nov 2012 14:09:00 GMT
Quality vs price http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/quality-versus-price.aspx

We pit a low-, medium- and high-end moisturiser, hair dryer and pair of men's underpants against each other in a user trial, and speak to experts about the results.

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Shopping and legalTue, 27 Nov 2012 15:53:00 GMT
Private car park fines http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/Private-car-park-fines.aspx

Some private car park operators have been slapping motorists with bogus “fines” and threatening legal action if they don’t pay up.

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Shopping and legalTue, 02 Oct 2012 14:31:00 GMT
Customer service shadow shop http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/customer-service-shadow-shop.aspx

How do Australia's bricks and mortar retailers stack up when it comes to customer service? We shadow shop Australia's 10 most popular retailers.

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Shopping and legalWed, 26 Sep 2012 06:00:00 GMT
The rise of aroma marketing http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/the-rise-of-aroma-marketing.aspx

Scent marketing is increasingly being used to draw consumers back into bricks-and-mortars stores.

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Shopping and legalWed, 15 Aug 2012 10:15:00 GMT
Parallel imports http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/parallel-imports.aspx

How can some products look, taste and function the same, yet vary so markedly in price from their mainstream, retail counterparts?

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Shopping and legalTue, 19 Jun 2012 08:52:00 GMT
Rent payment schemes http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Rent-payment-schemes.aspx

Third-party rent payment schemes force tenants to pay for rent collection, and the fees can really add up.

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Shopping and legalThu, 07 Jun 2012 15:39:00 GMT
Tackling call centres http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/Call-centre-rights.aspx

If you have a speech impediment, disability or an aversion to technology, call centres can cause you a lot of grief.

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Shopping and legalWed, 30 May 2012 13:24:00 GMT
Finding a removalist http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Finding-a-removalist.aspx

In 2011, Fair Trading NSW received 300 complaints about removalists – more than one every working day on average.

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Shopping and legalFri, 25 May 2012 11:35:00 GMT
Mother's Day home test http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/mothers-day-home-test.aspx

We decided to give our lab testers the day off and asked CHOICE member (and mum!), Monique Brunello, to be our home tester and look at some gift ideas for mums.

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Shopping and legalFri, 11 May 2012 10:42:00 GMT
The cut flower industry http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/Cut-flowers.aspx

We outline some concerns around imported cut flowers that might make you re-think that beautiful bouquet.

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Shopping and legalWed, 09 May 2012 16:10:00 GMT
Shopping for plus-size clothes http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/plus-size-clothing.aspx

Plus-size clothing is limited and expensive for Australians despite there being a demand.

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Shopping and legalMon, 26 Mar 2012 09:55:00 GMT
Australian Consumer Law http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/australian-consumer-law---one-year-on.aspx

The newly introduced Australian Consumer Law gives consumers better protection when purchasing than ever before.

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Shopping and legalFri, 23 Dec 2011 12:09:00 GMT
Unwanted Christmas gifts http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/unwanted-christmas-gifts.aspx

Our survey finds, a whopping 21% of items purchased as Christmas presents fall short on performance.

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Shopping and legalWed, 21 Dec 2011 13:15:00 GMT
In the dark on interest-free deals http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/shoppers-misled-on-interest-free-deals.aspx

CHOICE looked at some interest-free payment offers available with six major retailers, and sent a shadow shopper to the stores.

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Shopping and legalTue, 20 Dec 2011 17:06:00 GMT
Christmas gifts for the traveller http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/christmas-gift-guide-traveller.aspx

We pick fun and handy products that will make great Christmas presents for anyone who loves to travel.

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Shopping and legalFri, 16 Dec 2011 09:03:00 GMT
Work-from-home scams http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/work-from-home-scams.aspx

Work-from-home offers can be tempting, but they can make you vulnerable to identity theft. We reveal the top five scams, and explain how to protect yourself from them.

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Shopping and legalTue, 29 Nov 2011 16:25:00 GMT
Christmas gifts for the keen cook http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/christmas-gift-guide-household.aspx

CHOICE picks the kitchen gadgets that will make great Christmas presents for anyone who loves to cook.

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Shopping and legalTue, 29 Nov 2011 10:21:00 GMT
Excess package http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/excess-packaging.aspx

The amount of packaging material in the postal system is piling up as more and more people do their shopping online.

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Shopping and legalThu, 24 Nov 2011 16:01:00 GMT
Christmas gifts for the gadget fan http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/christmas-gift-guide-technology.aspx

We round up the best technology buys, from tablets, to televisions, to MP3 players, to eBook readers.

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Shopping and legalWed, 23 Nov 2011 10:53:00 GMT
Christmas gift guide 2011 http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/christmas-gift-guide.aspx

From digital cameras to kitchen gadgets, our gift ideas cater to all budgets.

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Shopping and legalWed, 16 Nov 2011 11:04:00 GMT
High postage paid http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/high-postage-paid.aspx

Australians appear to be paying more than consumers in NZ, the US, UK and further afield for staple services such as international postage.

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Shopping and legalMon, 22 Aug 2011 15:24:00 GMT
Retailer tricks of the trade http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/retailer-tricks-of-the-trade.aspx

Online shopping is often quicker and cheaper, but bricks-and-mortars retailers have a few tricks that keep us coming back.

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Shopping and legalTue, 02 Aug 2011 10:23:00 GMT
Shopping online for overseas goods http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/shopping-online-for-overseas-goods.aspx

Buying from foreign retailers has netted Australians big discounts. We look into the current state of play for online shopping.

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Shopping and legalWed, 06 Jul 2011 17:50:00 GMT
Pitfalls for tall consumers http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/pitfalls-for-tall-consumers.aspx

Tall consumers are getting the short end of the stick in everything from buying clothes to travelling on planes, trains and in cars.

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Shopping and legalThu, 23 Jun 2011 17:32:00 GMT
Bargain book buys http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/book_buying_guide.aspx

Chain, independent or online book retailers – we size up the options.

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Shopping and legalTue, 05 Apr 2011 10:32:00 GMT
Resolving a financial complaint http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/making-a-financial-complaint.aspx

Dealing directly with banks and other financial services providers to resolve disputes is usually more effective than taking the matter to court.

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Shopping and legalThu, 17 Mar 2011 10:44:00 GMT
Savings at the cinema http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/cinema-rip-offs.aspx

With movie ticket and candy bar prices continuing to rise, can a night at the movies be affordable?

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Shopping and legalThu, 10 Mar 2011 15:44:00 GMT
Funeral costs http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/funeral-costs.aspx

CHOICE found that funeral costs fluctuate wildly. We highlight ways to get a fair deal.

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Shopping and legalWed, 09 Feb 2011 16:08:00 GMT
High tech shopping http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/high-tech-shopping.aspx

CHOICE takes a closer look at the high-tech devices in supermarkets now, and those on the way.

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Shopping and legalThu, 20 Jan 2011 15:23:00 GMT
Mother's Day guide http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/mothers-day-guide.aspx

Our busy mums are faced with a myriad of decisions every day. We believe they should have the best advice at their fingertips this Mothers' Day.

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Shopping and legalFri, 24 Dec 2010 15:34:00 GMT
Group buying websites http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/coupon-websites.aspx

Some of the best consumer bargains can be found online through coupon websites.

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Shopping and legalThu, 25 Nov 2010 09:00:00 GMT
Charity Christmas cards http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/charity-christmas-cards.aspx

Buying direct from the charity is often a better way to get your money direct to the good cause.

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Shopping and legalThu, 04 Nov 2010 16:01:00 GMT
Cash for gold http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/gold-jewellery.aspx

CHOICE visited 10 gold-buying shops in Sydney with a ring and two necklaces, and was offered between 39% and 89% of the gold value for the items.

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Shopping and legalWed, 20 Oct 2010 14:53:00 GMT
Drycleaning dramas http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/drycleaning.aspx

Inaccurate care labels could be at the heart of many drycleaning mishaps.

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Shopping and legalFri, 08 Oct 2010 12:10:00 GMT
What annoys Australians? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/what-annoys-australians.aspx

Hidden fees, faulty products, endless phone menus - Australians' biggest complaints are consumer and/or product-related.

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Shopping and legalFri, 01 Oct 2010 12:34:00 GMT
Made in Australia? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/made in australia.aspx

Current labelling laws are broad and inconsistent even within the same industry. Country of origin and other claims, mixed with marketing hype, are confusing shoppers.

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Shopping and legalMon, 30 Aug 2010 19:57:00 GMT
Movies on the cheap http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/movie-rentals.aspx

We outline the benefits and pitfalls so you can find which way saves you money.

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Shopping and legalTue, 10 Aug 2010 09:46:00 GMT
Spectacles buying guide http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/spectacles-buying-guide.aspx

Our price guide takes you through the confusing array of extras and options to explain exactly what you need to look for when shopping for specs.

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Shopping and legalFri, 02 Jul 2010 14:17:00 GMT
Bottleshop prices http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/bottleshops.aspx

See our CHOICE price comparison of wine, beer and spirit prices at a number of different outlets.

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Shopping and legalMon, 31 May 2010 14:00:00 GMT
Will kits http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/legal/will-kits.aspx

An up-to-date, detailed will is essential for protecting your loved ones. We look at the basics you need to have covered.

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Shopping and legalWed, 24 Mar 2010 12:30:00 GMT
CHOICE 50th anniversary http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/choice-50th-anniversary.aspx

From the sixties through to the noughties, CHOICE TV captures all the highlights.

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Shopping and legalTue, 23 Mar 2010 16:40:00 GMT
Know your rights http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/know-your-rights.aspx

What can you do when you know you’re getting a raw deal, but don't know what to do about it? Read on.

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Shopping and legalTue, 12 Jan 2010 13:22:00 GMT
Weddings - at what price? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/wedding-investigation.aspx

This year Australian couples are expected to spend an estimated $3.7 billion on their big day - but can you be sure you're paying what you should?

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Shopping and legalThu, 10 Dec 2009 11:12:00 GMT
Best online shopping sites http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/best-christmas-shopping-sites.aspx

We save you time and effort by bringing you a list of the best online sites for books and CDS, clothes, electronics, as well as as cosmetics and fragrances.

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Shopping and legalTue, 10 Nov 2009 15:29:00 GMT
Hidden fees in phone cards http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/hidden-fees-in-phone-cards.aspx

Extra costs, such as “service” fees that gobble up credit even when you’re not making calls are often not advertised on the posters or phone cards.

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Shopping and legalFri, 25 Sep 2009 11:17:00 GMT
Cashbacks not always a good deal http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/cashback-capers.aspx

Retail and manufacturing marketing execs are certainly onto a winner with cashback schemes, but consumer benefit is not as guaranteed.

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Shopping and legalSat, 13 Dec 2008 10:36:00 GMT
Duty-free is it worth it? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/money/shopping-and-legal/shopping/duty-free-is-it-worth-it.aspx

Duty-free shopping was one of the perks of travelling overseas. The introduction of GST saw a whole raft taxes phased out, so is still good value?

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Shopping and legalTue, 23 Aug 2005 11:42:00 GMT
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