Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said the Fair Trading Legislation Amendment (Consumer Guarantee Directions) Bill, granting the new powers, would be introduced into Parliament this week.
“These proposed reforms will give the NSW Fair Trading Commissioner the power to direct a business to repair, replace or refund a good,” Mr Kean said.
“This means fair, quick and cheap resolutions for consumers and businesses, and will be an alternative to the often costly process of courts and tribunals.”
Mr Kean said consumers were often confused about their rights and disputes still accounted for more than 20 per cent of legal problems experienced by people in NSW.
The 2016 Australian Consumer Survey also found 76 per cent of people reported a problem within the first six months of purchasing a good.
“Ideally consumers and businesses work together to resolve issues directly; however, when this fails, Fair Trading works with them to help solve the problem,” Mr Kean said.
“If a resolution is still not possible, rather than the case going to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or being dropped, consumers can now seek a direction that the trader repair, replace or refund the good.
“This is about enhancing Fair Trading’s existing powers to get the very best outcome for consumers across NSW, and give businesses certainty around their obligations under Australian Consumer Law.”
The Commissioner’s power to make directions will be focused on goods worth between $25 and $3,000, with the reforms taking effect from January 1, 2019.
To be eligible for a consumer guarantee direction, cases must meet certain criteria.
For more information on the criteria, as well as the overall Bill, visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.