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.
Businesses are trotting them out left and right these days, but it’s not clear who gives them the authority to do that, since you already have a right to the three Rs without promising to keep matters confidential.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) effectively keep problems with a product or service a secret so other customers can’t know that it has a history of problems.
“The ACCC has made clear that non-disparagement clauses can breach unfair contract terms provisions.
“Again this comes back to the imbalance of power and information between consumer and business, and why we need strong, enforceable consumer protections.”
Read More Non-Disclosure Agreements, Unfair Contracts and Consumer Rights
“There are a number of gaps in the consumer law when it comes to protecting people from unfair business practices. These gaps leave consumers in Australia vulnerable to all kinds of unfair treatment,” says CHOICE senior policy and campaigns adviser Alex Söderlund.
CPRC CEO Erin Turner says Australian consumers deserve better.
“Australians are missing out on protections that consumers in other countries have benefited from for decades. We need laws to effectively call out and restrict unfair practices. These laws will mean businesses have to treat you with respect and care.”
Read More Make Unfair Illegal – Consumer Groups Call for Strong New Laws to Close Gaps as New Research on Consumer Knowledge Emerges
“We know all too well the harm that inadequate privacy protections cause. Gambling companies hound at-risk people with targeted advertising, data brokers sell our information without consent, and automated systems discriminate against marginalised people. We’ve also seen millions of consumers harmed by data breaches when businesses store too much personal information,” says CHOICE Senior Campaigns and Policy Advisor, Rafi Alam.
Read More Over 20 Advocates and Researchers Call for Urgent Privacy Reform
“Digital platforms have vast resources and technical capabilities to detect and prevent scams, but without mandatory rules backed by strong civil penalties, companies will continue to have little incentive to protect people.”
Read More Scam Ads ‘Rife’ on Digital Platforms as Social Media Platforms Fail to Act
“Unfortunately, there is currently no mandatory Australian safety standard for bassinets. This means that year after year we continue to see unsafe bassinets make it onto the shelves,” says Kim Gilmour, CHOICE baby product expert.
Read More 40% of Bassinets in Australia Fail Safety Test
Single parents who want to cover their children on their policy will be slugged with an increase of up to 60–70% in many cases. Sometimes they’ll even pay twice as much.
Read More Single Parents Unfairly Priced Out of Health Insurance
“Natural disasters can be one of the most complex issues to navigate when it comes to insurance,” says CHOICE insurance expert Jodi Bird.
“There are some simple things you can do right now to make things easier should you become affected by a bushfire and need to make a claim.”
Read More Preparing for a Bushfire Insurance Claim
Research conducted by CHOICE in 2022 found many Australians aren’t aware of what insurance they have through their super. Only 54% of respondents knew how much they paid for insurance, and just 51% knew what situations their super insurance covered.
Read More Calls for Independent Inquiry into Super Insurance Gaps
Original media release from CHOICE (30/08/2023). “We gave several playpens a score of zero for performance simply because they had so many failures,” says Kim Gilmour, CHOICE’s team leader for household products. In fact, eight of the 25 models in our current review failed to pass CHOICE’s key safety requirements – that’s almost a third, a…
Read More Almost a Third of Playpens Fail CHOICE Safety Test
Almost a year after state and territory consumer ministers agreed to open consultation on options to address the gap in Australian Consumer Law (ACL) around unfair trading practices, Treasury has released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS) and given stakeholders 91 days to respond starting 31st August and ending 29th November 2023.
Read More Consumer Groups Advocate for Change as Consultations Open on Unfair Trading Practices
“We are deeply concerned by the volume of complaints consumers are having to escalate to AFCA,” chief ombudsman David Locke says. “It’s not fair on consumers and not good for business. We need to see a significant improvement from firms.”
Read More Record Number of Financial Complaints for Second Year in a Row