The Australian Consumer Survey Report
Consumer Protection produces and amends legislation, codes of practice, guidelines, and general consumer information. Where public comment is being invited for national legislation, draft copies of the documents are placed on this page.
The Australian Consumer Survey was a national baseline study that explored existing consumer and business experience and understanding of consumer laws, their application and enforcement. The Survey report is now available.
The baseline study comprised of surverys with 5,315 consumer respondents and 1,210 respondents from businesses operating within Australia.
It was commissioned by the Policy and Research Advisory Committee (PRAC) of the Standing Committee of Officials of Consumer Affairs (SCOCA).
The Australian Consumer Survey report does not represent the agreed policy position of any
Inquiries about the Survey report should be directed to:
Policy and Research Advisory Committee of SCOCA
c/- The Executive Officer
PARKES ACT 2600
Telephone: 02 6263 2111
Overview of the Report
There is a high level of awareness of consumer protection laws and most consumers are confident that businesses do the right thing.
Consumers are aware of consumer regulators, and about half of consumers will contact a regulator about a consumer problem.
There is broad awareness of dispute resolution services for consumer problems and most consumers and businesses would use a dispute resolution service if they needed to.
Most consumers take some action to resolve a problem and mostly contact the business concerned. In most cases, they can resolve the issue directly with the business. Most businesses have not used a dispute resolution service provided by a consumer regulator, but larger businesses are more likely to.
While there is generally good awareness of the existence of consumer rights and the ways to resolve consumer problems in the community, the Survey raises some issues to consider:
Although consumers and businesses know about consumer rights generally, there is much less detailed knowledge of these rights and business obligations.
Consumers do experience problems with goods or services. The most common problems are poor customer service, high or unexpected fees and delayed or undelivered goods or services.
It is estimated that it costs Australian consumers a total of $14.2 billion a year to deal with consumer problems, based on the direct costs they incur and the time they spend dealing with problems. When considering this figure, it should be noted that in 2009-2010 Australians spent $724.43 billion (excluding dwellings) on household consumption.1
It is estimated that it costs Australian businesses a total of $6.6 billion a year to deal with problems where they have a legal obligation to provide a remedy for the consumer. This figure does not account for the costs incurred by businesses to replace or repair products.
A quarter of consumer problems raised with businesses remain unresolved.
Consumers who do not speak English at home are less likely to know about how to deal with consumer issues.
For more information
Please visit the Australian Consumer Law website.