The Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Easy and Transparent Trading Consultation Paper (the Consultation Paper). We have limited our comments to Section 2 relating to increasing transparency and consumer choice.
We welcome efforts to improve consumer outcomes. However, we caution against over-reliance on increased disclosure and consumer choice to fix the problems Australians face in consumer markets. These kinds of regulatory interventions often do little to improve, and can actually worsen, consumer outcomes. Public education campaigns are also rarely effective, as they are generally unable to ‘cut through’ marketing by for-profit firms.
Instead, we support reform that removes harmful conflicts of interest, improves conduct and product design standards and encourages the fair treatment of consumers. We prefer that these reforms apply consistently across all Australian jurisdictions to ensure consumers around the country are afforded the same protections.180827 NSW Easy and Transparent Trading Consultation Paper FINAL