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Right to repair: CHOICE responds to Productivity Commission draft report

CHOICE welcomes recommendations to make consumer rights more useable.

Consumers rights advocate CHOICE is calling on the Australian Government to strengthen and clarify the right to repair for consumer goods in Australia. 

"The Productivity Commission draft report released today recognises that a "right to repair" is complex - it covers a lot of different laws and protections, from intellectual property to consumer protections," says Dean Price, Senior Campaigner at CHOICE. 

"Our consumer laws are clear - we have a right to a repair, refund or replacement within a reasonable period if a product fails. However, some companies fight customers every step of the way when they try to enforce these rights. The Productivity Commission is right that consumers need more options to escalate complaints when a company doesn't play fair."

"Allowing consumer groups to make "super complaints" is long overdue in Australia. A super complaint system would allow designated consumer organisations to take systemic failures to consumer regulators across the country and require these regulators to respond in a timely way." 

"Super complaints have worked successfully in the UK since 2002. It has allowed groups to bring systemic failures to the attention of regulators on issues ranging from the supply of beer in pubs through to sub-prime credit and debt management brokers. Super complaints will allow groups like CHOICE or community legal centres who work closely with communities to sound the alarm quicker when we see consumer harm."

"Providing consumers better guidance on durability is a welcome first step. The Productivity Commission has recommended that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provide input into the development of this guidance. But, this guidance should be backed up by information on durability at the point of sale. People want to know how long a product will last when they're shopping and the information should be as easy to read as water and energy efficiency labels." 

"When 85% of Australians say that buying products that will last a long time is very or quite important to them then we should be equipping people with information about how long a product will last. [1] People also need to be assured that the parts and tools they need to use and repair the product will be available for a reasonable time."

CHOICE will continue to work with our members and the community to build an evidence base for stronger consumer rights to a refund. 

Media contact: 0430 172 669,

Editor's notes:

[1] The survey was designed and analysed by CHOICE, with fieldwork provided by accredited research agency, the ORU. Fieldwork was conducted from 12-29 January 2021. 1,107 people completed the survey from a representative sample of the population.