Tagged With consumer protection


If you've ever had to deal with trying to get a faulty product repaired or replaced, you've probably at least once experienced the struggle of dealing with an unhelpful customer service representative who seems unwilling to assist. Now, a Federal Court decision has unwittingly handed companies a "cheat sheet" on how to get out of repairing faulty goods.


HP sold about 220,000 printers in Australia with the euphemistically named “Dynamic Security Feature” (DSF). And while anything called a "security feature" sounds like a good thing, its purpose was to stop people from installing non-HP ink cartridges. As a result, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) has told HP, through a court-enforceable undertaking to compensate customers who were unable to use non-HP ink cartridges due to an undisclosed technology in their printers.


Dear Lifehacker, Recently I sold a mobile phone that was is full working order to someone. I tested it prior and all was good. Within a few hours the buyer was claiming there were problems with the phone which I totally refute. First they asked for costs to cover the repair and now they are asking for a full refund, all within 24 hours.

Where do I stand as the seller as I still claim there was nothing wrong with the phone and if it has issues now, they were caused by the buyer after I sold it to them?


Dear Lifehacker, I recently made a payment for goods of $8000 on my credit card. I asked the merchant if it was okay to pay by CC and the answer was yes -- but there was no mention of a surcharge. Six months later, they sent me another invoice for $200 (2.5% processing fee.) Am I legally required to pay this fee?


The Australian Communications and Media Authority is responsible for legislation, regulations, standards and codes of practice across telecommunications, broadcasting, radio communications and the internet. But what does this actually mean in practice? This infographic provides a fascinating snapshot of the authority's activities over the past financial quarter; from skewering pesky telemarketers to tackling complaints about the NBN.


Consumer watchdog CHOICE recently conducted tests on six popular sunscreens with a SPF rating of 50+. Surprisingly, only two brands actually met the claimed protection rating, with the others ranging between SPF42 and SPF29. This infographic names and shames the products that failed to deliver on their promise.


Dear Lifehacker, I purchased an imported Lenovo Yoga Pro 3 from a coworker who decided to upgrade. I was very happy with it, but it died suddenly within six months of the initial purchase. Lenovo don't seem to offer warranty service on this model in Australia, and the chance of repair seems slim. Is my coworker obliged to provide some kind of refund?


Today, consumer watchdog Choice named and shamed the worst products and companies of the year at the 10th annual Shonky Awards. From "flushable" wet wipes that caused sewerage blockages to spontaneously combusting washing machines, these are the dodgiest Australian products of 2015.


The vast majority of staff at Australia's major electronics retailers are pretty clueless when it comes to consumer rights, according to a new investigation by CHOICE. The consumer watchdog discovered widespread violations of Australian consumer law across 85 per cent of Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi stores around the country.


From life-endangering baby's dummies to hotlines that charge customers to complain, these are the dodgiest Australian products of the year as nominated by consumer watchdog CHOICE. As an added bonus, this year CHOICE is letting the public vote for their "favourite" offender. Read on and cast your vote!


The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has ordered Nurofen to stop claiming that its pain killers target the source of pain. The TGA argues that while the maceutical ingredient ibuprofen can provide broader pain relief, it does not provide specific relief to target areas, contrary to Nurofen's advertisements.


Dear lifehacker, What's the deal with non-refundable deposits? I've been caught out and pressured into a transaction before when I've put down a small amount of my hard earned cash as a deposit and having second thoughts isn't a good enough excuse to change your mind. Is taking a non-refundable deposit against consumer law or smart business? Ripped off


The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has re-instituted legal proceedings against nine Harvey Norman franchisees for misleading consumers about their rights. The nine stores, based in Queensland, Victoria, NSW and WA, are accused of a range of infringements, including telling customers they were not obligated to provide remedies for faulty products.


If you've ever bought an item on the premise that it eventually will be a bargain after all the rebates come back, you know the process is far from simple and streamlined. About.com has a handy guide to getting all the rebate cash you deserve. Along with linking helpful rebate-tracking sites, the guide recommends skipping any re-sending of receipts if a company claims a problem with your rebate:f the rebate check never arrives or arrives late, file a complaint with the FTC, the state Attorney General, or the local Better Business Bureau.Also write to the corporate headquarters of the company where you made your purchase and include copies of your correspondence with the above organizations.From experience, playing hardball with rebate providers is sometimes the only way to paying the "Give Up Tax." What tactics have you used to ensure all your cash comes back to you? Share your war stories in the comments. Thanks Gina N.! Photo by ninjapoodles.
Steps to Take When Your Rebate Check Does Not Arrive


If you're on the lookout for a new domain name, here's a trap to look out for. When checking domain availability via a registrar, ensure you're using a site you trust. Most domain registrars have a tool on their website which lets you search for available domain names (for example, Network Solutions WHOIS Search). But you may want to careful when you use WHOIS services - and here's why. Some domain registrars have been known to immediately register a site (for a period of a few days) when you query a .com domain for availability through their website - thus preventing you from registering it via any other registrar.While operators doing this may claim they are doing it to stop someone else grabbing the domain while you're completing the shopping cart process, it's effectively a lockin, and it looks like it's against ICANN's registrar agreement too.ICANN's registrar agreement says:    3.7.4 Registrar shall not activate any Registered Name unless and    until it is satisfied that it has received a reasonable assurance    of payment of its registration fee. For this purpose, a charge to    a credit card, general commercial terms extended to creditworthy    customers, or other mechanism providing a similar level of assurance    of payment shall be sufficient, provided that the obligation to pay    becomes final and non-revocable by the Registered Name Holder upon    activation of the registration.Thanks for the tip, Andrew!


Computer magazine Maximum PC posts up a helpful guide to finding deals on electronic gifts this shopping season without getting taken advantage of—either by con artists or the retailers themselves. In particular, the magazine recommends staying away entirely from too-good-to-be-true digital camera deals from independent retailers. That's because after you place your order:Months later, you still haven't received your camera. You call the vendor, and you're given a song and dance about it being back-ordered because of X excuse, (but) would you like to buy the camera bundle with some accessories for $1,700? ... If you fall for the up-sell ... you'll notice that your package bundle includes (only) the battery and charger (which are normally included with the camera for MSRP). If you give up and cancel the order, you've wasted a ton of time, you don't have a camera, and the company has had your $600 for three months.Also worth checking out before making those major gift purchases are how to avoid warranty problems and tips on spotting holiday shopping scams. Photo by orangeacid.
Seven Rules for Safer Holiday Shopping