ASIC Commissioner Simone Constant said, ‘ASIC has taken multiple actions to protect retail investors from high risk offers and business practices that may be unfair, inappropriate or result in poor outcomes. Our more proactive approach to identifying and disrupting emerging risks and harms is in response to the rapid pace of change we have observed in recent years. Today’s report and our recent consumer warning campaign are reflective of this.
Read More ASIC Report Released on Online Trading Providers and Increased Risk to Retail Investors
New mandatory industry codes are being developed by the Australian Government to outline the responsibilities of the private sector in relation to scam activity, with a focus on banks, digital communications platforms, and telecommunications providers. A short survey is also available for members of the public who wish to participate in the consultation process and provide information about their experience with scams, rather than provide a written submission.
You can read the Consultation Paper and how to make submissions here. Submissions are due by 29 January 2024.
Read More Have Your Say on the Scams Mandatory Industry Code Survey
Below is the introduction for the Consumer Policy Research Centre’s latest report ‘Seeing Green – prevalence of environmental claims on social media‘. The report itself can be found as a free PDF here and CPRC’s brief summary of the report can be found on their website here. “Striving towards improved environmental outcomes is a worthy…
Read More CPRC and ADM+S Release Latest Green Consumer Report
“While we found that Coles may have an incentive to consolidate some of its milk volumes in the eastern states, this was unlikely to lead to a substantial lessening of competition,” Mr Keogh said.
“Coles will likely continue to face financial incentives to stock and support branded milk from other processors, due to the higher retail margins it earns on these products.”
In addition, the ACCC found that Coles’ commercial incentives to consolidate its milk supply would exist with or without the transaction due to the significant excess capacity at the Laverton and Erskine Park facilities.
Read More “[U]nlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition”, ACCC Okays Coles Milk Plant Acquisitions
The total penalties, ordered by the Federal Court, are the highest imposed for resale price maintenance in Australia. Resale price maintenance (also known as RPM) occurs when a supplier of goods specifies a minimum price below which a reseller must not supply, offer to supply, advertise, or display those goods for sale.
“The ACCC submitted to the Court that this level of penalty was appropriate given the seriousness, duration and extent of Techtronic’s conduct. It sends a strong signal to deter others from engaging in RPM, and should serve as a warning for all other businesses,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
Read More ACCC Applies Record Penalty for “seriousness, duration and extent” of Techtronic’s Retail Price Maintenance
The current USO only provides consumers with a right to a standard telephone service. A standard telephone service refers to a landline (home phone) connection many of us grew up with, and must provide access to local, national and international calls, untimed local calls, and free access to emergency service numbers.
These services are essential, and for many individuals residing in regional, rural, and remote areas they are a reliable and trusted lifeline during natural disasters and emergencies.
However, communications technology and public expectations have changed since the USO was introduced, and USO reform may provide opportunities to get a better deal for consumers and ensure more reliable and robust services.
Read More Universal Service Obligations – Have Your Say in the Future of Communication
A national survey of 2,500 household energy consumers found that 48% of households did not recall seeing anything in the media or online in the last 12 months about how to reduce their energy costs or usage. Those who did recall seeing information often found it complex and irrelevant.
The results show that while households are interested in learning about saving on their energy use and bills, their trust is low in the energy market to provide them with good advice.
Read More Single, Trusted Source for Australian Energy Consumers Needed
The number of complaints from First Nations people to the financial services ombudsman rose by 13% last financial year, with scams, delays in insurance claim handling and service quality the most common issues.
Read More First Nations People More Than Twice as Likely to Receive Poor Financial Hardship Service
More than one in 10 complaints from First Nations people related to financial hardship, double the one in 20 complaints involving financial hardship from the overall population.
AFCA says while the total number of complaints from First Nations consumers generally mirrors the proportion of the population, more still needs to be done to improve the cultural competency of the service to ensure accessibility to the ombudsman as well as financial inclusion.
The Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has welcomed the Energy and Climate Change Ministerial Council’s (ECMC) decision to progress work on a proposed package of Game changer reforms that will deliver significant improvements in outcomes for energy consumers experiencing vulnerability.
Under the comprehensive package, consumers would receive concessions they are entitled to and those in hardship would receive their retailer’s best offer to help them lower their bills.
Read More ‘Game changer reforms’ for Vulnerable Consumers will Progress
“The proposed coordination will increase AEMO’s ability to manage the scheduling of outages, providing greater security for the supply of electricity over the next two summer periods, which are forecast to be challenging,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
Due to concerns that this kind of coordination and information sharing between competitors can reduce competition in the supply of electricity and the acquisition of maintenance services as well as create information disparities within the broader electricity market, the ACCC has imposed a series of conditions for this authorisation.
Read More Coordination Within Electricity Industry Authorised
The mandatory Code for Scams consultation paper announced by the Federal Treasury today sets out some proposals to tackle the scams crisis, however the final regulation must land on clearer stipulated standards and consumers’ rights to reimbursement of scams losses from banks if standards are not met.
“Mandatory and enforceable codes are a step forward, but consumers must be able to seek reimbursement easily, and there needs to be clarity on the high standard expected of banks and their liability,”
Read More Mandatory Code for Scams Promising But More Regulation Needed
Consumers are often overwhelmed by the amount of energy information available to them. They are unsure who to turn to, or where to start. This means most consumers are on ‘first base’ in their energy journey.
Read More Energy Cost, the Environment and the Importance of Keeping Consumers Informed