Consumer resolutions in 2016

From avoiding surcharges to better value insurance, we give you our top new year tips for consumers.

Top consumer resolutions for 2016

Each year Australian consumers are confronted with shonky claims, over-priced goods and ever-more complex products and services. To help consumers avoid unnecessary fees and charges, dodgy credence claims, international price discrimination and warranty rorts, CHOICE is offering all Australians  New Year's resolutions that can help to ease cost of living pressures in 2016.
"Following a few simple resolutions when shopping in-store and online will help to take the pressure of the family budget and encourage businesses to work harder for your loyalty," says CHOICE spokesperson, Tom Godfrey.

Use unit pricing when doing the weekly shop

With supermarkets spending millions each year telling consumers they'll get "lower prices every day" and prices are "down down and staying down", savvy consumers can look past the catchy slogans and compare the unit price on all products when doing the weekly shop.

Avoid the "Australia Tax" on digital products and cosmetics

With Australians paying up to 50% more on some IT products and cosmetics, learning how to use a virtual private network (VPN) to navigate around online geo-blocks can save you a great deal of money. For more visit our guide to shopping without walls.

Don't get stung by "free-range" claims

With many "free-range" claims unlikely to meet consumer expectations of what most believe "free-range" to be, it's important to read the information on pack before paying a premium. If the stocking density is above the 1,500 birds her hectare set out in the national model code, you might want to reconsider paying a premium. Join our campaign to save free range.

Compare health insurance policies to get the best deal

With health insurance premiums set to increase by 6.2% on average next year, it's time to health-check your policy and try to ensure you are getting the right cover at a competitive price for you and your family.

Ignore "no refund" signs

No refund signs are illegal, so if you have purchased a faulty product and are confronted with a "no refund" sign inform the retailer about your consumer right to a refund and if you don't have any luck contact Fair Trading or Consumer Affairs in your state or territory.

Watch out for fake online reviews

With consumers looking to online reviews of products and services before making a purchase, it's important to be on the look out for fake reviews. Look at the style and tone of the review and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Dob in a dodgy surcharge and use a fee free payment method

With airlines continuing to slug consumers with sky-high credit card surcharges, you should try and opt for a fee-free payment method. 

Compare, ditch and switch to a low-fee, low-rate credit card

While mortgage rates have dropped over time, credit card interest rates have remained stubbornly high. If you're someone who doesn't pay off your credit card balance in full every month, consider switching to a no-frills, low-rate, low-fee product. You can use our free and unbiased Compare, Ditch and Switch site to look for a more competitive banking deal.

Check your home and contents cover

Home and contents insurance is often a complex product and premiums have risen steeply over recent times. Don't get stuck auto-renewing your policy without testing the market. Instead, keep hikes to your home and contents policy at bay with our complete guide to home and contents insurance.