National compliance projects

NSW Fair Trading currently chairs the national Compliance and Dispute Resolution Advisory Committee (CDRAC). CDRAC’s role is to carry out national initiatives that promote awareness and compliance with Australian Consumer Law.

Below is a list of current and past initiatives.

Current projects

Sharing/peer-to-peer economy

This project aims to ensure consumers and traders using peer-to-peer or sharing economy platforms such as Uber and AirBnb are aware of their rights and obligations under the Australian Consumer Law. Regulators have also conducted research into ACL awareness amongst sharing economy users and are continuing education campaigns to further increase awareness.

Consumers with disability & the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

We are coordinating a national response to issues impacting consumers with disability, particularly those managing and receiving goods and services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Service delivery mapping

Service delivery mapping creates an easily accessible range of resources that ACL regulators can utilise to manage general enquiries and complaints, and other services they provide.

Engaging with tribunals

This project aims to proactively engage with state and territory small claims tribunals and provide guidance in relation to the consumer guarantees regime of the ACL.

Fundraising and the ACL

The project is designed to monitor the fundraising sector to encourage compliance  with ACL obligations.

Door-to-door lead generation

This project investigates and, if necessary, takes action against parties engaged in 'lead generation' sales practices that may not comply with the unsolicited consumer agreement requirements and provisions under the ACL. The most common 'lead generation' sales practice is to engage a third party to attempt to gain an 'invitation' from the consumer to set up an appointment.

Training and professional development

This project identifies the common skills required by ACL regulator employees. Training and resources will be provided across the jurisdictions to build national capacity.

Portable swimming pools (product safety)

Regulators are determining the extent that portable swimming pools may contribute to fatal and non-fatal drownings, and explore what measures could be introduced to further reduce drowning incidents associated with these products.

Button batteries (product safety)

Button batteries are found in common household products. If swallowed, they can cause significant injuries, with small children being the most vulnerable. Two children in Australia have died from injuries resulting from button batteries. An estimated twenty children per week present to an Hospital Emergency Department in Australia with injuries related to swallowing a button battery.

Regulators taking part in a button battery national strategy are focusing on products that have easily accessible button batteries. Regulators conduct surveillance programs  and take action to remove high-risk products from the marketplace and ask suppliers to voluntarily recall products where necessary.

Toppling furniture (product safety)

Regulators are increasing awareness among furniture suppliers and consumers about the risks of furniture and televisions toppling over when young children climb on them. ACL regulators are conducting marketplace surveillance to promote compliance with the  best practice guide published by the National Retail Association, focusing on the supply of anchoring kits with products.

Baby walkers (product safety)

Baby walkers are regulated under a mandatory Australian safety standard. The  project focuses on suppliers of baby walkers and consumer awareness of safety issues.

Finalised projects

Pop-up events

‘Pop-up’ events, such as music, wine and food festivals held in open space venues, are high-risk for organisers who have to plan every aspect of the event well to cater for the number of tickets sold. Education was crucial to achieving good conduct in the marketplace, with 241 event organisers receiving written education material and regulators also having further educational discussions with some of the event organisers. Regulators also engaged with key industry associations and ran a national campaign educating consumers about their rights when buying tickets to events and festivals.

Household cots (product safety)

Household cots are regulated under a mandatory Australian safety standard. This a project monitors the sale of cheap household cots online. . Many of these products failed to meet mandatory safety standards. Suppliers have been advised  to update their labelling to rectify minor issues. For more serious failures, suppliers are told to remove products from sale and conduct voluntary recalls.

‘It’s OK To Walk Away’ (National Indigenous Consumer Strategy)

The project was coordinated through the National Indigenous Consumer Strategy (NICS) to help Indigenous consumers understand their rights and protect themselves from high-pressure sales tactics, including increasing community use of consumer protection tools such as the ‘do not knock’ sticker. At the end of the project, evaluation found that the campaign helped equip the target audience with the information they needed to better deal with high pressure sales. The compliance work undertaken identified specific trader behaviour that will be investigated further.

On-line dispute resolution

The project researched online conciliation mechanisms and the issues surrounding the need for adaptation by state and territory consumer regulators in the future. While options have been identified, the initial proposal for a ‘one size fits all’ online dispute resolution system is not yet achievable. It appears clear that the significant differences in state-based dispute resolution processes, legislation and differences in technology platforms resulted in a preference and need for individual jurisdictional consideration and response.

Training providers

This project identified key consumer protection issues related to training providers. Consumers and traders were educated about their rights and obligations under the ACL. Compliance and enforcement activities took place against non-compliant traders.

Sentinel National Pilot Program – automotive industry

Project Sentinel  delivered an operational analytics platform that transforms and integrates multiple sources of data into a single user-friendly environment. ACL Regulators agreed to a national proof-of-concept trial– known as the National Sentinel Pilot Program - focussing on the automotive industry. The trial provided regulators with intelligence to inform educational, compliance and enforcement activities.

Most complained about businesses nationally

This project aimed to identify the most complained about businesses on a national level and, if warranted, facilitate a coordinated response by ACL regulators to ensure these businesses are compliant with the ACL, to ensure the burden of ongoing compliance is born by the businesses instead of ACL regulators and to reduce the number of complaints to ACL regulators.

Other previous projects

The newer projects above build on previous national initiatives about the following issues:

  • Fake online testimonials
  • Cash back schemes
  • Was/Now pricing
  • Extended warranties
  • Country of origin labelling
  • Consumer guarantees
  • Unfair contract terms
  • Renewable energy and energy saving devices claims
  • Indigenous consumer protection
  • Group buying websites
  • Small business ACL education program
  • Travelling conmen national response
  • Property spruikers/ rent to buy schemes
  • Scam disruption
  • Real estate agent services
  • Travel and accommodation industry
  • Credit card chargebacks