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    More than $700,00 back in the hands of Cairns consumers

    Following a spike in consumer complaints since the pandemic, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has announced it has successfully clawed back $711,088 for Townsville consumers in 2022.

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said with more Queenslanders feeling the pressure from the rising cost of living, it’s important that consumers are getting what they paid for and that they feel they are getting value for money.

    “Last year the OFT finalised more than 550 complaints from Townsville consumers,” Minister Fentiman said.

    “Queensland wide OFT finalised more than 19,300 complaints and put more than $11.2 million back in consumers’ pockets.

    “In Townsville the highest number of consumer complaints continued to be for the personal and household goods industry.

    “This category includes purchases of everyday items such as whitegoods, appliances, hardware, clothing and footwear – so it’s no surprise this continues to be at the top of the complaints list.

    “However, since the pandemic, complaints have soared for these types of purchases, with more than a 50 per cent increase since 2019.

    “There has also been an increase of more than 80 per cent in complaints for the personal and household services industry since the pandemic – this industry includes complaints about services such as whitegoods repairs, removalist services and cleaning companies.”

    Increases are to be expected after pent-up demand and supply chain issues during COVID-19, this is an issue the OFT is closely monitoring.   

    These issues encountered by consumers in these sectors are expected to return closer to trend as supply chain issues resolve.  In the meantime, consumers can protect themselves by doing their homework and asking questions – Is the item in stock? What date will I receive it? And will you provide a full refund if I don’t have it by that date?  If consumers still encounter problems, they can lodge a complaint with the OFT.

    In 2022 the OFT assisted thousands of Queenslanders to get refunds, including obtaining a full refund of $38,000 for a consumer who was sold a dodgy camper trailer and assisting a consumer to get their new vinyl flooring replaced after the freshly laid flooring started to lift and became uneven.  

    “The redress received for Queenslanders was seen across many industries including a $3,400 refund for cancelled airline flights,” the Attorney said.

    “In another example, the OFT assisted a Queenslander in obtaining a full refund of $46,000 after purchasing a motor vehicle which was not what was advertised.”

    The top 5 most complained about industries in Queensland in 2022:

    • Personal and household goods (e.g. furniture, whitegoods, TVs, computers) – 6,256
    • Personal and household services (e.g. repairs to whitegoods, removalists services, cleaning, gardening, etc) – 2,719
    • Motor vehicle sales – 1,340
    • Real estate agents (excl resident letting) -1,101
    • Motor vehicle service, repairs, parts – 1,036

    Consumer complaints in 2022 by region, including the most complained about industries:

    Location of consumer

    Total number of complaints finalised

    Redress obtained by OFT for these consumers

    Top five industries complaints related to

    Brisbane area

    12,299

    $4,093,350

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Motor vehicle sales

    4. Motor vehicle services, repairs, parts

    5. Real estate agents

    Cairns region

    660

    $279,732

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Motor vehicle sales

    4. Motor vehicle services, repairs, parts

    5. Real estate agents

    Townsville region

    552

    $711,088

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Motor vehicle sales

    4. Motor vehicle services, repairs, parts

    5. Real estate agents

    Mackay region

    330

    $716,745

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Motor vehicle services, repairs, parts

    4. Motor vehicle sales

    5. Real estate agents

    Rockhampton region

    500

    $432,780

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Motor vehicle sales

    4. Motor vehicle services, repairs, parts

    5. Travel agents

    Wide Bay region

    611

    $617,644

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Motor vehicle sales

    4. Motor vehicle services, repairs, parts

    5. Real estate agents

    Toowoomba region

    538

    $740,636

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Motor vehicle sales

    4. Motor vehicle services, repairs, parts

    5. Real estate agents

    Sunshine Coast region

    1,475

    $930,958

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Accommodation, Hotel, Motel

    4. Motor vehicle sales

    5. Travel agents

    Gold Coast region

    2,345

    $2,752,193

    1. Personal and household goods

    2. Personal and household services

    3. Motor vehicle sales

    4. Motor vehicle services, repairs, parts

    5. Travel agents

    Total

    19,310

    $11,275,130

     

    Consumers who believe they have been treated poorly and are unable to reach an outcome with a trader can lodge a complaint with the OFT at www.qld.gov.au/law/fair-trading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

    While the OFT does not have the power to direct a trader to provide redress, it is able to resolve the majority of disputes through conciliation.

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence

    The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

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