Consumer Action supports national harmonisation and clarification of Australia’s laws on statutory conditions and warranties, so long as harmonisation does not weaken protections for consumers.
However, we consider that the root of the problem in this area is twofold. We agree that the laws lack clarity and this could be improved. The second and more important issue, though, is that there has been a failure by regulators to take enforcement action to tackle what is, in fact, a systemic, market-wide problem. We recommend that regulators adopt a more active and strategic approach to enforcing statutory condition and warranty laws, with the help of legislative reforms to incorporate direct enforcement mechanisms into the laws.
We also recommend legislative reform to tackle the extensive problems with the selling of extended warranties to consumers, including capping commissions and introducing measures that separate the decision to purchase the extended warranty from the purchase of the underlying item. We do not support the introduction cooling-off rights in this area, because they can encourage consumers to make hasty decisions thinking they can always cancel later, which does not tend to occur.
To read our submission, click here: CCAAC Consumer rights – statutory implied conditions and warranties issues paper.