Aust news weekly round up

Consumer news stories that caught our eye this week:

  • Energy companies are seeking to reverse declining profits by raising supply charges in Victoria up to 74 per cent the Herald Sun reports. As a result, some households pay an annual supply charge of $550 – before a single appliance or light bulb has bee turned on. Lower profits are the result of a decline in the demand for electricity, and charges are factoring in the cost of government programs to introduce smart meters and green schemes.
  •  A quarter of a million doggy used cars are being sold every year, according to The Age. 92 per cent of these have flood damage, two per cent are stolen, and six per cent have had their odometers wound back. In a revelation that will perhaps help rebuild the tarnished reputation of used car salesmen, buyers are being advised to buy from dealers rather than private sellers.
  • Back with the hot-topic of energy prices, the Herald Sun also revealed that people who can’t find the time to research better offers are losing out. Differences of up to $800 exist between standing offers and market discounts within the same networks. Victorian consumers can now access the best value electricity deals through My Power Planner.
  • The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, to avoid phone bill shock, The Australian Communications Media Authority has called for the major telcos to deliberately slow down data speeds on mobile plans when customers reach their data usage limit, a model known as throttling. Each year, Australian consumers spent $1.5 billion more than they have to by choosing a mobile plan that does not suit them.
  • Also in the SMH, the government’s financial systems inquiry could consider imposing taxes on the big banks as well as incentives for their smaller rivals. A former panel member of the 1997 Wallis Inquiry has suggested that, if the current inquiry demonstrates that improved competition in the banking and financial sector is needed, the government will need to mitigate the pressure faced by smaller institutions.