In Australia, every person has the right to be protected from unfair business practices. NSW Fair Trading is the state government agency that resolves disputes between consumers and businesses on issues such as shopping, refunds, renting, cars, buying and selling property, home building, product safety, scams and more. This information aims to help you understand your consumer rights and responsibilities in NSW.
As a shopper you have certain rights. The information you get about a product or service must be accurate and the product must be labelled correctly. You are entitled to a receipt upon request. The law gives you consumer guarantees in case things go wrong.
The seller should provide a refund (money back), exchange or repair when the product:
If the problem is serious, you can choose to return the product and get a refund. Generally, the seller will require proof of transaction such as a receipt, invoice or credit card statement.
The seller does not have to give you a refund if you:
Read more about Refunds on the Fair Trading website.
When you buy products on the internet from an overseas seller, you may not be protected by the Australian consumer laws. Here are some tips to protect yourself:
|TIP - Do not use public computers for internet shopping or banking as they may not be secure.|
Before placing a deposit on a product, make sure you are definitely going to buy it as you may lose all or part of your deposit if you change your mind.
|TIP - Always keep all receipts and invoices as you may need them if you want to return, repair or exchange the products.|
ShopSmart gives you quick and easy access to information on refunds, warranties and lay-by rights while you shop, and allows you to:
Get ShopSmart - download the free app today from the App Store and Google Play!
Do you have a problem with something you have bought?
If you are planning to buy a mobile phone follow these tips:
|IMPORTANT - If you sign any paperwork, it is probably a contract, which is a legal document. Take the time to carefully read all documents and do not sign anything you are not sure of or do not understand. Do not be afraid to ask questions.|
There are many different phone calling cards that you can use to make local or international calls. If the card has a local customer service number you should call it if you have problems and to find out the following:
The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)
If you have a problem with a phone card or mobile phone service, try to sort it out with the seller or your network provider. If you cannot come to an agreement, contact the TIO on 1800 062 058 or visit www.tio.com.au
Before buying a car privately you should know the following:
My next car is a free app that helps you choose your next car. You can:
Get My Next Car - download the free app today from the App Store or Google Play!
NSW Fair Trading
For information on buying a car go to the Motor vehicles section of the Fair Trading website.
Roads and Maritime Services
For information on buying a new or used car, to register the car or transfer the car registration visit www.rta.nsw.gov.au or call 13 22 13.
Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)
To find out if a used car has any debt visit www.ppsr.gov.au or call 1300 007 777. Always do a PPSR check before you buy a car privately.
In Australia most people either rent or buy their own unit or house. To rent a home you have to sign a contract (lease) called a Residential Tenancy Agreement with a landlord. The landlord can use a real estate agent to manage the property for them.
A lease is usually for either 6 or 12 months. Before you sign the lease make sure you understand what you are signing. You can ask the real estate agent or landlord to explain the terms and conditions of your lease before you sign it. Make sure you know exactly how much rent you will need to pay and how you will pay it, for example, every fortnight, by direct debit from your bank account. Keep all your rent receipts or bank statements if you pay on the internet. The landlord or agent cannot ask you to pay the rent more than 2 weeks in advance.
At the start of every tenancy the landlord or agent is required to give you the Fair Trading fact sheet called New tenant checklist. Make sure you can answer Yes to every statement in the checklist, before you sign the Tenancy Agreement.
You must be given a Condition Report when you sign the Tenancy Agreement. This is a checklist of the condition of each room in the property. You should get two copies, already filled in by the landlord/real estate agent. You need to inspect every room carefully and check whether you agree with what they said and write down if there is anything you do not agree with. Complete the Condition Report and return one copy to the landlord or agent within 7 days and keep one copy for your records in a safe place. You will need it again when you move out.
Before you move in you will need to pay a bond. This bond money is a form of security for the landlord in case you do not follow the lease agreement. The maximum bond you can be asked to pay is 4 weeks rent. Your landlord or agent must send the bond money to Fair Trading. You should get a letter from Fair Trading during the first 2 months saying that your bond has been received and advising you of your Rental Bond Number. If you don’t receive the letter, call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 to check the bond has been lodged.
Once you are renting, if something needs to be fixed (for example, a leaking tap) and it’s not your fault, the landlord will need to get it repaired in a reasonable time. Some repairs are urgent (such as a gas leak, blocked toilet or electrical fault) and the landlord has to fix them very quickly. You should let your landlord or agent know what needs to be fixed as soon as possible by calling them or sending them an email or a letter. Keep a copy of any emails or letters in case there are problems. You have to continue paying rent while the repairs are being organised.
If you are planning to move out you have to inform your landlord or real estate agent in advance, in writing. Check your Residential Tenancy Agreement for details on how much notice you need to give. You should clean the property and make sure there is no damage or rent owing. Return the keys promptly and arrange to do a final inspection with the agent or landlord. Both you and your landlord should complete and sign a Claim for Refund of Bond Money form to get your bond money back. If you have not caused any damage or owe any money you should get your bond back.
You may be a boarder or lodger if you are not listed on the lease with the landlord or a written sub-lease with the head tenant. Boarders or lodgers do not have the same rights as tenants. Being a boarder or lodger means you:
|TIP - Beware of fake rental advertisements. Always check renting ads are real by visiting the property yourself and checking the company or person’s details online or from another independent source. Never pay any money before you go to sign the lease and get the keys.|
NSW Fair Trading
More information about renting is available in a range of languages from the Fair Trading website. If you have a problem with your landlord call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or 13 14 50 for language assistance.
Provides free assistance and advice to tenants.
Tel: 1800 251 101
Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT)
Provides a quick and low cost dispute resolution service for tenants, landlords, traders and consumers.
Tel: 1300 135 399
When selecting education and training courses check if the institution you wish to study with is registered to deliver training to overseas students and is listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) at www.cricos.deewr.gov.au
By law, a training provider must not accept course money from an international student until the student has signed a written agreement with them. Make sure you fully read and understand the agreement and its terms and conditions before you sign it.
Be aware that if you decide to leave your current education provider, you may not be entitled to a refund of the course money you have paid. You should check the terms and conditions of the written agreement that you signed when you first enrolled for details.
If you want to transfer from one training provider to another and you have not yet completed 6 months of your principal course then you must request permission to do so from your current provider. If you have signed up to a package of courses, the principal course is the one at the highest qualification level. You do not need to pay any money to the new provider or their agent until you have received your letter of release from your current provider. If you are released, only then you can complete your enrolment and sign a written agreement with the new provider.
If you have any questions or problems with your study, safety, accommodation or work, you should contact the International Students Office of your institution or call the International Student hotline on 1300 363 079 for assistance.
Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS)
If your education and training institution has not delivered the training or course you are enrolled in or the training provider has closed, call the International Student hotline on 1300 363 079 or make an enquiry through the online ESOS Enquiry Form at www.aei.gov.au Go to the ESOS framework section on this website and select ESOS quick information, where you can find frequently asked questions, information on students rights and obligations, transferring to another education provider and other useful information.
Overseas Students Ombudsman for students with private providers
If you have a problem with your non-government (private) education provider, and you have told them about it but the problem is still not fixed, contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman on 1300 362 072 or visit www.oso.gov.au to lodge a complaint.
Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)
Check the institution you wish to study with is registered to deliver the training at www.cricos.deewr.gov.au
Study in Australia
For information on studying and living in Australia visit www.studyinaustralia.gov.au
Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)
For any questions or information about your visa call 13 18 81 or visit www.immi.gov.au
If you have been excluded from a university or TAFE course in NSW you have a number of ways to appeal the decision or make a complaint if you think the decision is unfair or wrong. All students have a right to an internal and external review. Call 02 9286 1000 or 1800 451 524 (outside Sydney) or visit www.ombo.nsw.gov.au for more information.
Before you sign up to a gym membership you should be aware of the following:
If you have a problem with a gym, check if it is a member of Fitness Australia at www.fitness.org.au or call 1300 211 311. If the gym is a member, Fitness Australia will help negotiate your dispute if you send it to them in writing.
If the gym is not a member of Fitness Australia or you cannot resolve the problem, call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 for help and advice.
When planning your holiday or just buying a plane ticket, follow these tips:
NSW Fair Trading
To check if a travel agent is licensed call 9619 8700. Read more about Travel and resolving travel problems on the Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20.
Travel Compensation Fund (TCF)
To find your nearest licensed travel agent visit the TCF website at www.tcf.org.au
If you did not receive the services for which you paid the travel agent for such as accommodation or transport, call 1300 658 165 or visit www.tcf.org.au for advice on what to do.
Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)
If you have a problem with your travel insurance claim visit www.fos.org.au or call 1300 780 808.
A scam is a trick or a fraud when you pay money but get nothing back for it or you get something that is worth much less than the money you paid. Scams can be anywhere – in the mail, email, internet, in person or over the phone. There are many types of scams, here are some examples:
|IMPORTANT - Never send money or personal details to a person or business you do not know.|
You do not need to lose money to be able to report a scam. If you see or hear about a scam – report it.
If the scam originates from NSW or you know the name of the business or trader and they are located in NSW, you can report the scam to NSW Fair Trading online through Lodge a complaint or call 13 32 20 or visit a Fair Trading Centre.
If the scam originates from outside NSW or overseas you can report it to SCAMwatch at www.scamwatch.gov.au or call 1300 795 995. SCAMwatch is a website run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
Be scam wise - stay one step ahead of the scammers with NSW Fair Trading's free mobile app ScamBuster. Using the app you can:
Get ScamBuster - download the free app today from the App Store and Google Play!
For information on scams, how they work, how to protect yourself from scams, report a scam and what to do if you have been scammed. Register with SCAMwatch to receive free email alerts on new scams.
Tel: 1300 795 995
Stay Smart Online Service
A network of international government organisations, where you can report complaints about online and other related transactions with foreign companies.
If you have problems with refunds, warranties, consumer guarantees, buying a car, renting, buying a house or scams visit our website or call 13 32 20 or visit us in person at your nearest Fair Trading Centre.
Fair Trading has information in a range of languages which is available from the Publications section of our website.
If you need language assistance, contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 and ask for an interpreter in your language.
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