Don’t spoil Mother’s Day while spoiling your Mum

NSW Fair Trading is reminding consumers to think about the gifts they purchase this Mother’s Day, both online and instore with a last-minute rush expected on purchases for the big day this Sunday.

9 May 2019

NSW Fair Trading is reminding consumers to think about the gifts they purchase this Mother’s Day, both online and instore with a last-minute rush expected on purchases for the big day this Sunday.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rose Webb said online orders for items such as flowers and gift baskets as well as purchases of gift cards, often cause consumers frustration after they have parted with their money.

“With Australians spending more than $11 billion every year on online retail, it is vital that consumers understand they are protected by the same Australian Consumer Law when purchasing goods and services online, as they would be in a physical store,” Ms Webb said.

In 2018, Fair Trading received 7,765 complaints from consumers, who were dissatisfied with purchases made online. When placing an online order, consumers should read the delivery terms and conditions, to understand the transit times, insurance options and management of damaged goods.

“Common Mother’s Day gifts may bring with them issues for the customer. In 2018 Fair Trading received almost 100 complaints about flower deliveries, with 20 of those complaints received in the lead up to Mother’s Day,” Ms Webb said.

Gift cards, another popular gift item for Mother’s Day, received a total of 281 complaints from consumers in the last calendar year.

“While legislation around gift cards has been amended so that most gift cards and vouchers must be sold with a minimum expiry period of three years, consumers are still reporting issues with businesses after purchasing them,” Ms Webb said

“When Fair Trading receives a complaint, officers will generally attempt to mediate the dispute between the consumer and the business. Fair Trading also works with the business to improve their processes and to ensure consumer rights are maintained,” Ms Webb said.

There are ramifications for online traders who disregard Fair Trading’s guidance and breach the Australian Consumer Law, including legal action and significant fines and penalties.

In April this year, the NSW Supreme Court awarded a combined penalty of $3.1million against the director and corporate entity behind online stores Android Enjoyed and CameraSky for ongoing breaches of the Australian Consumer Law.

For more information on gift cards and online shopping, especially in the lead up to Mother’s Day, visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

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