Regulator news and government inquiries

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Financial counsellors around Australia welcome yesterday’s announcement by the ACCC that Telstra and the ACCC will be asking the Federal Court to impose a penalty of $50 million on the telco. The penalty relates to unconscionable conduct in its’ dealings with 108 Indigenous customers. This is a media release by Financial Counselling Australia. Telstra has admitted…

Read More Financial counsellors welcome announcement of court proceedings concerning unconscionable conduct by Telstra against Indigenous customers

Photo by Francesco Cantinelli on Unsplash

Australia’s leading consumer advocate has announced the recipients of the 15th annual CHOICE Shonkys. “In the sixtieth year of CHOICE, it’s fitting that the 2020 Shonkys uncover and call out practices from companies taking advantage of their customers,” says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland. “Whether it’s complex financial products designed to trap people in debt or…

Read More Pathetic purifiers, Harvey Norman’s credit card traps and cleaners worse than water: Shonkys 2020

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ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against ACBF Funeral Plans Pty Ltd (ACBF Funeral Plans) and Youpla Group Pty Ltd (Youpla Group) for alleged contraventions of the ASIC Act. ACBF Funeral Plans, a wholly owned subsidiary of Youpla Group, offered, promoted and sold the Aboriginal Community Funeral Plan (ACF Plan), a funeral expenses…

Read More ASIC commences proceedings against ACBF Funeral Plans and Youpla Group concerning funeral expenses insurance

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The Morrison Government yesterday released terms of reference for the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the Right to Repair in Australia. Consumers, or third parties, can face challenges repairing products that develop faults or require maintenance, due to a lack of access to necessary tools, parts or diagnostic software. According to MobileMuster, 33 per cent of…

Read More Productivity Commission Inquiry into Right to Repair

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Removing credit protections will cause harm to people and the economy  CHOICE, Consumer Action Law Centre, Financial Counselling Australia and Financial Rights Legal Centre have responded to the Government’s announcement that it will remove credit protections for borrowers saying right now what people need is more income, not more debt. Government’s proposed reforms will remove bank responsibility…

Read More Consumer groups slam move to remove responsible lending laws

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Consumers’ Federation of Australia member CHOICE has priced national brand groceries at Coles, Woolwoths and Aldi. Read CHOICE’s article to see where to find products for the cheapest price and how to use unit pricing to check which pack size ofers the best value for money. Our price survey found that products from national brands…

Read More Cadbury, Coca Cola, Colgate. Which supermarket is cheapest for national brands?

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The Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) will be able to establish and operate a national scheme for managing expired batteries under an authorisation granted by the ACCC. BSC was formed in 2018 with the primary goal of establishing a battery stewardship scheme in Australia that would see a significant increase in battery collections and recycling. Batteries…

Read More Voluntary battery stewardship scheme granted authorisation

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The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation has begun a reform agenda for the food regulation system aimed at ensuring that it remains strong, robust and agile into the future. The reform agenda is being progressed via several interconnected projects and will include stakeholder engagement. The projects are: 1. Review of the…

Read More Major reform agenda underway for the food regulation system

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission, as one of the agencies responsible for the National Indigenous Consumer Strategy (NICS), urges Indigenous consumers to be wary of scams, including anyone calling them out of the blue asking for personal details or offering investment opportunities. As part of National Scams Awareness Week, which began on 17 August…

Read More ASIC warns Indigenous consumers about scams

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Superannuation trustees that were classifying new members as ‘smokers’ by default and charging them higher life insurance premiums have ceased this practice, and some trustees have remediated members for the extra premiums paid. Between 2017 to 2020, ASIC engaged with seven superannuation businesses, (comprising nine superannuation trustees) that had been, either at the time or…

Read More Superannuation trustees compensate members wrongly classified as ‘smokers’

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The Federal Government has begun an evaluation of Australia’s country of origin food labelling system to make sure it’s working for Australian consumers. The evaluation of country of origin labelling for food will consider if the labels are helping consumers make more informed choices, as well as clarifying the origin claims that businesses can make,…

Read More Participate in the Country of Origin Food Labelling Consultation

two people texting on smartphones two people texting on smartphones

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today launched the next phase of its action plan to combat scams, unveiling a suite of new resources designed to help Australians protect themselves on their home and mobile phones from scams. Chair of the ACMA’s Scam Taskforce Fiona Cameron said scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to take advantage of…

Read More ACMA moves to protect Australians from phone scams