by Alan Thornhill
Some important changes are coming soon to shopping centres near you, whether you live in Sydney, Broome or anywhere else in Australia.
They will be meant to clarify your rights, if a dispute arises, over, say, an arguably harsh clause in the guarantee that came with your new fridge, washer or computer.
Your rights – and obligations – will be spelt out in new national consumer protection laws, which are scheduled to go into effect on January 1 next year.
The Federal government has already launched a consumer law website and draft regulations for the new laws, which will replace State and Territory consumer legislation, with a standard, uniform approach.
The new law is not quite finalised yet.
If you are worried – or excited – about it – or just interested – you can study the proposed changes by going to www.consumerlaw.gov.au.
However if there is anything there that you think is wrong, you had better speak up quickly.
David Bradbury, a Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, says the new website will help shoppers and shopkeepers find their way through Australia’s first single set of national consumer laws.
But the deadline – for submissions – is October 13.
“We are keen to ensure that businesses and consumers have the opportunity to comment on the ACL Regulations and Guides and I encourage people to get involved.
“It is important that businesses know about the new rules and that consumers are aware of their rights.” Mr Bradbury said.
“Under the ACL, businesses and consumers will be subject to the same set of laws right across the country whether they be in Adelaide or Alice Springs, or Bondi or Broome,” he added.
Mr Bradbury said the website would become an important public forum, in the months ahead.
He added a warning, though, saying:”Comments on the draft ACL Regulations are due by Wednesday, 13 October 2010.”
However, Mr Bradbury had some advice, too.
” For more information about how to make a submission on the draft ACL Regulations and the draft ACL guides, please visit the Public Consultations page on www.consumerlaw.gov.au,” he said.
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Wednesday May 22
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