Problems with household goods and services were the most common consumer concern reported to Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) in 2007.
More than 620,000 Victorians contacted CAV last year for information on issues ranging from lay-by and refund problems to misleading advertising and faulty products.
Details of the top 10 goods and services enquiries last year were released recently by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Tony Robinson, and included credit and debt issues, and queries relating to utility providers, scams and telecommunication services.
Ms Tierney, Member for Western Victoria said it was important for residents of Cobden to understand their rights as consumers and to know Consumer Affairs Victoria was there to help if they did experience a problem.
The number one topic of enquiry was household goods, including furniture, homewares, electrical appliances, whitegoods, garden tools and hardware.
Consumers sought advice and information about lay-bys, refund policies, faulty products or goods that did not match those on display or advertised descriptions.
Automotive concerns were the second most common enquiry, with many Victorians turning to CAV for advice about the purchase of a new or used car, car repairs and maintenance, vehicle parts, roadworthiness and car accessories.
Personal goods and services rounded out the top three consumer enquiries for 2007. CAV received thousands of enquiries about clothing and footwear, beauty products and photographic services, including faulty products and refund problems.
Credit and finance were also common consumer concerns, with thousands of enquiries about debt and credit issues, including credit cards, and car, home and personal loans.
Ms Tierney said some Victorians were experiencing problems relating to credit card debt and other financial issues.
“This was the fourth biggest area of concern and I encourage residents of Cobden to seek advice on how to best handle growing debt,” Ms Tierney said.
“Victorians made 620,000 enquiries to CAV during 2007 indicating consumers were turning to CAV for advice and assistance.
“Many Victorians made use of the comprehensive information available on the CAV website, which attracted more than 140,000 visitors monthly.
“CAV is helping to make sure all Victorians, no matter where they live, are aware of their rights and responsibilities within the marketplace,” Ms Tierney said.
CAV has offices in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Mildura, Morwell, Wangaratta, Warrnambool, as well as the Victorian Consumer and Business Centre at 113 Exhibition St, Melbourne.
The top 10 enquiries to CAV regarding goods and services in 2007 were:
1. Household Goods and Services – including furniture and homewares, electrical appliances and whitegoods, and garden tools and hardware in relation to refunds, lay-bys, faulty products and goods not matching samples or descriptions.
2. Automotive – purchase of a new or used car, along with car repairs and maintenance, vehicle parts, roadworthiness and car accessories.
3. Personal Goods and Services – clothing and footwear, hair and beauty products, and photography and wedding services due to failure to supply a good or services, faulty products and refund problems.
4. Financial and Related Services – advice on car finance, debt collection, credit cards, bankruptcy and personal loan.
5. Electronics and Computers – faulty computers and games consoles, along with software and video games including refunds, repairs or inferior goods.
6. Telecommunications and Internet – faulty mobile phones and difficulties with telephone and internet providers, including contract problems and unreliable service.
7. Recreation, Cultural and Sporting Services – gyms, travel agents and unsafe toys due to cancellation of gym contracts and travel bookings, and toy safety concerns.
8. Scams and Get Rich Quick Schemes – enquiries about legitimacy of scams and get rich quick schemes, including bogus lottery, employment, online and door-to-door, and scam victims.
9. Transport – difficulties with airlines, removalists and vehicle hire companies with concerns including delays or non-delivery, cancelled flights and damage disputes.
10. Utilities, Fuels and Distributive Services – disputes with gas, electricity and water providers.
Consumers can seek advice and assistance from Consumer Affairs Victoria by visiting a regional office, calling 1300 55 81 81 or visiting the website at www.consumer.vic.gov.au