Consumer Choice. Stage 5 Commerce. Consumer Choice – Consumer Protection. Students learn to : use the internet to research scams and rip-offs identify the methods used in scams and rip-offs and analyse the ethics involved
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Consumer Choice Stage 5 Commerce
Consumer Choice – Consumer Protection Students learn to: • use the internet to research scams and rip-offs • identify the methods used in scams and rip-offs and analyse the ethics involved • identify the features of a simple contract using at least one legal case study • investigate consumer laws and appropriate processes for consumer protection • work collaboratively to gather, interpret and present information on the protection provided by consumer protection agencies and independent bodies • examine the processes involved in achieving redress Students learn about: • the need for consumer protection – scams and rip-offs • features of a simple contract • legal rights and protective legislation for consumers • organisations that provide assistance for consumers −government departments and organisations – state and federal −independent organisations • the processes of consumer redress −remedies and their outcomes
Features of a simple contract • A contract is any written or spoken agreement to buy or sell goods and services. • Both the buyer and seller have important rights and responsibilities enforced by law. • Each person knows the other individual or business involved in the contract will perform their part of the agreement. For example when a seller hands over a good the seller is responsible for ensuring the good is of reasonable quality and fit for the purpose for which it is sold.
Six essential elements of a contract • Legal object – the purpose of the contract must be legal. • Possible to perform – it must be possible for both parties to carry out the contract. • Consideration – both parties must benefit in some way from the contract. • Legal right – people have a legal right to enter into a contract unless they are under 18 or are mentally unfit at the time of signing. • Intention – both parties must have intended to enter a legally binding contract. • Offer and acceptance – there must be an offer by one party that is unconditionally accepted by the other party.
An example of a contract A contract has three elements: 1.an offer – This may be made when you decide to buy something and offer to pay a price. 2.an acceptance – This may be done by the seller agreeing to supply the goods or services. The acceptance may be in words or an action. 3.consideration – this is the value (usually money) that is given in return for the goods or services offered to be supplied or acquired. It may also be the promise to pay at a later date. Go to www.dft.nsw.gov.au/consumerhelp What should parties consider before signing a contract?
Rights and responsibilities when buying goods and services • They come with a basic consumer guarantee. • Goods must comply with product information and safety standards. • It is illegal for retailers to mislead you about products or use high-pressure selling tactics. • You are forming a contract. For example, when buying a car or TV. • Contracts may be in the form of a receipt, invoice or other document outlining terms and conditions such as deposits, cancellation fees, warranties, delivery and payment arrangements. • It is your responsibility to read and understand the terms and conditions of contracts. • Keep a copy of receipts, dockets, invoices or contracts in a safe place in case you want to return, repair or exchange the goods.
Activities On Money Stuff Website • http://www.moneystuff.net.au/Default.aspx?tabid=94 MoneyStuff competition
Legal rights and protective legislation for consumers • Key federal government laws – • Trade Practices Act 1974. This act aims to improve the wellbeing of Australians. It deals with issues like anticompetitive and unfair practices, product safety, conditions and warranties and actions against manufacturers and importers. • The Prices Surveillance Act 1983. The ACT gives the ACCC power to monitor and report on the prices, costs and profits of companies and government authorities. Select one of the laws above. Use the internet perhaps (NSW Office of Fair Trading) to find out: When and why the law was developed. Which level of government is responsible for it. The penalties for breaking this law. The type of protection it provides for consumers.
Consumer protection laws • The NSW Office of Fair Trading outlines four important consumer rights: • Goods and services should be safe and of merchantable quality (fit for the purpose for which a good is bought). • You have the right to be protected from misleading and deceiving practices. • Information provided with goods and services should be accurate and give details of price, content and weight of package as well as care instructions. • Safety instructions should appear on dangerous products. Summarise these in your own words.
Consumer responsibilities Discuss the rights and responsibilities of consumers in the following situation: Jan purchased a new sleeping bag. The washing instructions read ‘Hand wash in mild detergent and warm water’. When the sleeping bag was washed according to these instructions it appeared to shrink and lose its colour.
Organisations that provide assistance for consumers • Government departments and organisations • State government authorities • NSW Office of Fair Trading – advice about fair and ethical retail practices. • Federal government departments • The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission handles issues such as anticompetitive and unfair market practices, mergers or takeovers of companies and product safety/liability.
Government organisations that provide assistance for consumers • Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)www.acma.gov.au • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)www.accc.gov.au • Consumer and Business Affairs Victoriawww.consumer.vic.gov.au • Consumer Affairs (NT) http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/consaffairs/index.shtml • The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE)www.dbcde.gov.au • Fair Trading (ACT)http://www.ors.act.gov.au/fairtrading/index.html • Fair Trading (NSW)www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au • Fair Trading (QLD)www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au • Fair Trading (WA)www.docep.wa.gov.au • Office of Consumer and Business Affairswww.ocba.sa.gov.au • Office of Consumer Affairs and Fair Tradingwww.consumer.tas.gov.au Go to two of these sites. Find out: What are the aims of this government organisation? What forms of practical support does the authority provide to consumers?
Ombudsman • If you experience problems in dealing with a government department you can contact the ombudsman – an independent official appointed to deal with complaints against government departments or private businesses. Define the term ombudsman in your own words.
Independent Organisations • Australian Consumers’ Association • A non-profit organisation that aims to provide consumers with information and guidance about goods, services, health and personal finances • Conduct tests on products and publishes the test results in a monthly magazine, CHOICE Access www.choice.com.au Describe the range of product reports available on the website. What are the current consumer product alerts. Draw a mind map showing the range of campaigns that the ACA is currently involved in. Make a list of the other consumer services provided by CHOICE and the ACA.
Independent Organisations • Other organisations • Kidsafe (the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia) A non-profit, non-government organisation that provides information about the safety of products in order to prevent the unintentional injury or death of children. • Community organisations • Citizens’ advice bureaus • Financial counsellors • Legal centres
Organisations that assist consumers Using these websites www.lawstuff.org.au, www.consumersonline.gov.au. add two more rows to the above table.
Steps in resolving a consumer complaint 6. Contact a court or tribunal. They can make a legally binding decision. However, this is costly.
Writing a letter of complaint Use simple clear language and attach copies of relevant paperwork. (para1) Provide a clear description of the problem. (para2) Be aware of your rights and communicate them clearly in your letter. (para3) Propose a solution (paragraph 5) Using this letter as a guide write a letter of complaint to the Department of Fair Trading (DFT) about faulty goods. This can be made up of something you have bought that was faulty.