Queensland consumers cash in on refunds thanks to Office of Fair Trading

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) returned $3.6 million worth of goods and services to consumers in 2014, including cars, air-conditioners, solar panels, caravans and jewellery.

The OFT addressed a total of 14,835 complaints during the year, resulting in $3.681 million worth of refunds for consumers.

"The OFT offers a conciliation service to help resolve disputes between consumers and businesses when issues arise with faulty products or poor service," Executive Director of OFT, Brian Bauer said.

"Queensland businesses generally do the right thing and only a fraction of marketplace transactions ever come to OFT's attention," he said.

"If something does go wrong with a product a consumer has bought, the business has a legal responsibility to put the problem right."
Fair Trading returns $3.6M

Mr Bauer said even if a customer had a bad experience with a product, a willingness to sort out the problem could turn that experience into a positive one.

"Sometimes though, a consumer and business can't resolve a dispute and that's where OFT can help," he said.

When a consumer makes a complaint, the OFT assesses it and, if the information provided suggests the consumer might be entitled to redress, will contact the business on their behalf to attempt to negotiate a solution.

"Although the OFT cannot force a business to give a consumer a refund or replacement, over 92 per cent of cases were satisfactorily resolved in 2014," Mr Bauer said.

The top industries complained about in 2014 were personal and household goods, like furniture, electronics or whitegoods; motor vehicle servicing and repairs; motor vehicle sales; real estate agents; and, personal and household services, such as beauty, cleaning, repair or home maintenance services.