Be a smart shopper!
Avoid disputes with traders and save time and money by planning your purchases and understanding your rights and those of the trader. (Do you know that there is no price control in the Northern Territory?)
Be aware of the conditions of the contract you are entering into when you purchase something. Ask about the warranty and check the refund policy. For more information on these and other shopping matters see the following fact sheets and brochures:
- Avoiding Unfair Business Practices
- Bag Searches - pdf | word
- Building and Renovating Your Home - pdf | word
- Contracts (Fact Sheet) - pdf | word
- Contracts (Brochure) - pdf
- Consumer Guarantees: A guide for consumers
- Dispute with a Business? A consumer guide to finding help
- Gift Vouchers - pdf | word
- Internet Shopping - pdf | word
- Layby Agreements (Fact Sheet) - pdf | word
- Mail Order - pdf | word
- Misleading and Bait Advertising - pdf | word
- Mobile Phones (Fact Sheet) - pdf | word
- Mobile Phones (Brochure) - pdf | word
- Price Scanning - pdf | word
- Quotes and Estimates - pdf | word
- Removalists - pdf | word
- Sales Practice
- Sample letter requesting a remedy for faulty goods - pdf | word
- Sample letter requesting a remedy for a service - pdf | word
- Services - pdf | word
- Unsolicited Consumer Agreements (Door to Door Trading) - pdf | word
- Your Shopping Rights (Fact Sheet) - pdf | word
Purchasing Tickets Online
If you are thinking about purchasing tickets to live performances, such as sporting events, concerts, performing arts, festivals or the theatre, there are some good tips on how to protect yourself from being scammed.
Live Performance Australia (LPA) has developed a “Safe Tix Guide - Tips for buying tickets safely and securely”. The Guide includes how to get your money back if you don’t get the tickets you paid for or if they turn out to be fake, and warns of risks when buying from unauthorised resellers. Being informed can help protect you from being ripped off. Make sure you know what you are buying.
The Guide advises paying for tickets with a credit or debit card for added protection and details what to look for before buying including restricted view seats, restricted ages, cancellation policies and other special conditions.
Consumers are also warned not to trust search engines because unauthorised sellers can pay to be at the top of the page when you are searching for tickets. Always check for hidden or extra costs that can be added on to the total cost before you click to pay.
If you have purchased a fake ticket report it to your local Police and contact NT Consumer Affairs on 1800 019 319 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the guide on purchasing tickets online here.
Sharing Economy (e.g. Uber and Airbnb)
Online platforms such as Uber and Airbnb form a sharing economy that connect people who have products or services to sell, lease or hire to consumers. Although Uber is not currently active in the Northern Territory, it is a popular form of transport in other states. It pays to be aware of your rights if you are considering using these services.
There are a number of benefits that the sharing economy provides to consumers such as potentially cheaper services, having the advantage of ratings and reviews through other consumer’s experiences and the opportunity to buy from individual traders as well as big businesses. If you use a trader through an online platform, you should generally have the same rights as if you purchased the goods through a store. The business must represent its services in a truthful and accurate manner, provide all the important information you need, and provide goods that are fit for purpose, acceptable quality and match their description.
Be aware however, if you purchase from a person who undertakes infrequent transactions or conducts a one-off transaction, they may not necessarily need to comply with the Australian Consumer Law as it could considered they are not acting in trade or commerce.
More information including tips for using sharing economy services can be found here.
Guidance material for platform operators and for private operators that use the sharing economy have been developed.
Platform Operators in the Sharing Economy – A guide for complying with the competition and consumer law in Australia.
The Sharing Economy: A guide for private traders – Complying with Australia’s consumer law.
Training Provider Information
Are you considering taking a course? Are you a training provider who wants to make sure your courses are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law? Consumer Affairs is warning residents of the Northern Territory, particularly those in remote and regional communities, about training providers offering ‘free’ laptops to people who sign up for courses.
There are reports regarding people offering training courses, such as diplomas, with the promise of a free laptop. They may sound like they are associated with Government supported or provided training. Consumers could be unknowingly signing up for a Commonwealth Government ‘Vocational Education and Training (VET) FEE-HELP’ loan for potentially thousands of dollars. This is a debt that has to be repaid once their income reaches a certain level and can affect their credit rating. Some people have been left with these large debts and incomplete training courses due to being sold inappropriate training courses.
Since April, VET FEE-HELP training providers have been banned from offering enrolment inducements to students like free laptops. So anyone promising a free laptop is breaking Federal Government rules around the loan-scheme.