Educating consumers and businesses

Working with local communities is an integral part of what we do at NSW Fair Trading. To make sure we serve you as best as we can, we have put together an action plan. This page includes examples and links to our outreach activities which cover the following four areas.

Connecting with you

We work directly with communities to raise awareness of fair trading issues and give a helping hand when you encounter difficulties in the marketplace. Last year, our frontline staff answered 1.4 million enquiries.

At Fair Trading, we support vulnerable audiences through proactive community education initiatives and partnerships, such as the following.

  • The Think Smart multicultural program addresses specific consumer issues facing migrants. It is a community-based partnership focused on building long-term relationships with community organisations and multilingual media.
  • Reaching out to seniors though the popular Seniors guide and visits to retirement villages.

We also meet customers in their own online communities and join in social media conversations. We have an active social media presence and engage with our customers on Facebook and Twitter. Our YouTube channel has video clips with information on tenancy issues, living in a strata scheme, buying or selling property, smart shopping, avoiding scams, door-to-door sales and more.

Educating consumers and traders

We inform the community about their rights and responsibilities as businesses and consumers through seminars, events and online programs aimed to assist the following groups in the community:

  • Incorporated associations
  • Motor dealers and repairers
  • Builders and tradespeople
  • Plumbers
  • High school students
  • Property professionals
  • Retirement village operators/residents
  • Residential tenancy, including Strata

For more information, go the Business and community engagement page or email FairTradingSeminars@customerservice.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.

Safeguarding your rights

We protect the rights of all consumers and traders by enforcing fair trading laws. Our inspectors carry out on the spot compliance checks on businesses in the community. We work with small businesses to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities.

Below are some examples of community activities we run.

  • Proactive inspection programs – We conduct regular inspections of businesses and traders in selected industries in NSW to make sure they comply with the law. Industries include home building, motor vehicle, health and fitness and pawnbrokers. We also check that a builder or trader is properly licensed to carry out the work they are doing.
  • Product safety inspections – We play an active role in ensuring that products for sale in the shops are safe for consumers and comply with national product safety laws. Our product safety inspections focus on children’s nursery furniture, toys, electrical items, gas appliance, treadmills, blinds, curtains and other articles which may harm or injury consumers.
  • Investigations and enforcements – To be effective, compliance measures must be backed up with a range of escalating enforcement options that can be used if a business fails to comply or where there is a serious breach of fair trading laws. Where minimum standards are not being met, we issue fines and prosecute individual businesses and dodgy traders for breaches of the law.

Empowering the people of NSW

We empower the community through timely communication solutions aimed at people on the go as well as funding community programs.

Here are some examples of the current community activities we undertake.

  • Community grants – We fund community-based organisations to provide advice, information, advocacy and community education on fair trading related issues. We also provide funding to industry or educational organisations for training, research or community education projects, which will enhance the professionalism of the property services, home building and motor vehicle repair industries and provide better outcomes for consumers.
  • Online and mobile information services – We promote and manage online and mobile information solutions aimed at increasing community access to our services. For example, we provide online public registers so you can check the licences for conveyancers, home builders, property service providers, as well as providing registers of residential parks and approved electrical articles. In addition, you can access our services via our mobile website, free smartphone apps and free enewsletters.
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