Aus consumer news weekly round up

Consumer news on our radar this week:

• The Sydney Morning Herald reports that CFA members including CHOICE, Financial Counselling Australia and the Consumer Action Law Centre are urging the government to dedicate to a focus on payday lending in the upcoming inquiry into the financial system. As a large number of Australians are unable to access fair financial services, the burgeoning industry of pay day lending targets low income consumers with debt traps and exorbitant interest rates.

• The Department of Health has ordered that Chemist Warehouse retract an advertisement on vitamin products, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The Complaint Resolution Panel stated that the advertisement was unlawful, misleading and unverified as relating to information provided on breast cancer and stroke, implying that the product could aid the treatment or prevention of the diseases.

• In the wake of the heat wave over Victoria and South Australia last week, there has been a lot of discussion about the long-term effect on electricity prices caused by residential air-conditioning units. Upgrading energy infrastructure to satisfy peak demand on a few days of the year adds to power bills whether you own a cooling unit or not. Peter Martin, writing in The Age calls it “a financial cost that dwarfs the
carbon tax”.

• The ACCC has been brought to court by Telstra for the role taken by the competition watchdog in investigating a dispute between Telstra and three internet service providers. Telstra has accused the ACCC of stepping out of its jurisdiction and asked that its authority be limited, according to the Financial Review.