Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into a right to repair.
The ability for consumers to access affordable repairs for their goods will be an increasingly critical part of Australia’s ability to reduce waste. When goods are broken due to ‘wear and tear’ or damage, affordable, easily accessible and convenient access to repairs may be the difference between an item being dumped in landfill versus being given a new life.
Australia could go much further in policies that increase competition for refills, parts, repairs and removing barriers to competitive repair, such as dissuading purchasers from being locked into add-on extended warranties. Furthermore, access to consumer rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL)1should be improved. While the right to repair exists for product faults already through the consumer guarantees, we hear from our clients that the process of enforcing their rights through state administrative tribunals is confusing, prohibitively expensive and can result in extensive further financial and non-financial loss when they are without the good during a protracted dispute resolution process(for example, when they are without the family car).
This tends to be felt most acutely by people experiencing financial disadvantage and vulnerability.
Read the full submission (PDF)