COVID-19 coronavirus Consumer Protection FAQ

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Consumer

The Commissioner for Consumer Protection has issued some advice about your consumer rights during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, with the below frequently asked questions addressing retail, travel, memberships and services issues and how they are covered by legislation.

This information will be updated regularly as new guidance is available. However, the situation is rapidly evolving, so please also visit www.wa.gov.au for information about current COVID-19 restrictions.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) also provides information on the rights and obligations of businesses in response to events caused by COVID-19.  

Please contact us if you need advice about the options providers have made available to you if your plans have been impacted by a lockdown. Depending on your situation, we may be able to assist in negotiating refunds or partial refunds. Given the exceptional circumstances, we encourage all businesses to treat consumers fairly.

Topic categories:


COVID-19 TESTS AND PRODUCTS

Can I buy a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test in Western Australia?

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits have been available for use in Western Australia since 10 January 2022.

Subject to supply, RAT kits can be bought at participating pharmacies, supermarkets, and other retail outlets.

You can access up to 10 free tests from pharmacies over a three month period (maximum five in a month) if you have a government-issued concession card:

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Department of Veteran's Affairs Gold, White or Orange Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Low Income Health Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card.

Only purchase RAT kits from reliable suppliers. A list of tests approved for use in Australia is available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website along with answers to common questions.

The Commonwealth Government has placed a limit on the price mark-up of the test kits.

Contact Consumer Protection if you have concerns or want to lodge a complaint about any seller of testing kits.

Should I buy a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test kit online?

Opportunistic scammers have set up fake websites or are selling unapproved self-testing kits that don’t work, so caution is needed if buying online.

Only purchase COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits that are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and come from reliable suppliers.

A list of tests approved for use in Australia  can be found on the TGA website along with answers to common questions.

Before you buy online, checks can be made on the supplier by doing an ABN Lookup and by searching for any negative reviews or comments about the business. Pay with a credit card or via PayPal so there’s an opportunity for a charge back if the product doesn’t arrive.

The Commonwealth Government has placed a limit on the price mark-up of the test kits.

Contact Consumer Protection if you have concerns or want to lodge a complaint about any seller of testing kits.

TRAVEL

Unpack the T&Cs - that's the terms and conditions from Consumer Protection WA on Vimeo.

Travel is available to buy, does that mean it's safe to book?

If you're considering booking travel, such as a flight, cruise, accommodation or holiday package, in the medium to long term, the strong advice from Consumer Protection is to read the fine print of the potential booking very carefully.

It's more important than ever to pay close attention to terms or conditions relating to cancellation or postponement of travel. Hotels may charge 100% in advance with no refunds for cancellation as standard terms and conditions, meaning you will not even get a credit note if you cancel. Airlines or travel agents may deduct fees or charges from refunds or place restrictions on future credit.

The pandemic is ongoing, so trips may still not be able to go ahead as planned because of various national and international government restrictions that can be subject to change. You could end up losing money or sitting on a credit note or voucher while you wait for restrictions to be lifted, rather than having the cash to spend on local travel or something else.

Be aware that insurance purchased now for future travel is unlikely to cover any loss incurred due to continuation or re-emergence of COVID-19.

For more information, see our advice to Unpack the T&Cs before you book your holiday.

How can I prepare for sudden travel restrictions affecting my booking?

Sudden border closures or intra-state travel restrictions may impact your travel plans, either before you go or while you are away.

With all future travel arrangements, carefully check the terms and conditions before you book, so that you know what is possible if your travel plans are impacted. While you are travelling, stay informed about COVID-19 travel rules both at home and in your holiday destinations, as things can change quickly.

If you have been impacted by sudden travel restrictions, contact your travel provider to discuss your options. 

Businesses are encouraged to work with their customers and treat them fairly. Contact Consumer Protection if you wish to discuss your particular situation.

Also see our advice to Unpack the T&Cs before you book your holiday.

Why do I need to read the contract terms and conditions and what should I look out for?

Some bookings are not flexible or refundable, which can cause problems for you down the track. If travel services are cancelled because of COVID-19, the Australian Consumer Law is unlikely to apply. This means that getting a refund, credit or date change will often depend on what you agree to in your terms and conditions (T&Cs).

Look in the T&Cs for flexibility to make changes, especially in relation to COVID-19. See how the T&Cs apply in the case of things like border closures, restrictions, isolation requirements and vaccine mandates.

Before you book, make sure you understand the T&Cs for each part of the trip, for example your flights, accommodation, transfers and tours. If you book through a travel agent or another third party, the policies and T&Cs of both the agent and travel provider will apply, so you will need to check both.

Make sure you understand what happens if you need to cancel your booking, or the booking cannot proceed. Find out exactly what terms like ‘100% refund guarantee’ actually mean. Some businesses will offer a full or partial refund, or credit.

Consider booking directly with accommodation providers or airlines if this provides more flexibility.

The T&Cs might be included in documents you are given, or you may find them on the company’s website. If you are unsure of where to find the T&Cs, ask your travel provider for a copy of them before you book your travel. We recommend you get confirmation about any refund policy in writing.

Will travel insurance cover a cancelled trip?

Read your travel insurance policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) as some policies do not cover epidemics or pandemics and some travel insurance policies have coverage limitations in relation to government bans. The PDS could be with your credit card provider if you paid by credit card and your particular credit card offers travel insurance.

'Change of mind' cancellations are not usually covered by insurance policies.

If you have any questions about what your policy covers, contact your insurer. 

If you are not satisfied with any decision from your insurer, discuss this matter with them and outline your preferred outcome. If your dispute remains unresolved, you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) for assistance. The AFCA Significant Event Hotline 1800 337 444 provides priority service for anyone financially impacted by COVID-19 who wishes to make a complaint. 

If I cancel my holiday, can my travel provider charge cancellation fees?

Yes. However, any cancellation fees should be outlined in the terms and conditions (T&Cs) in the contract. New T&Cs cannot be introduced after you have signed the contract or purchased the holiday.

If you have a holiday package, fees may be charged by each individual provider such as airlines, cruise operators, tour operators or accommodation providers in addition to cancellation fees charged by a travel agent you booked with.

There should only be one cancellation fee for the booking, not per passenger in the booking.

Any fees should be reasonable and justifiable, for example administration costs associated with providing the service. If you believe unreasonable fees are being charged, contact Consumer Protection and we will review these arrangements carefully. 

My flight, cruise, tour or accommodation has been cancelled. Am I entitled to a refund?

This will depend upon the original terms and conditions (T&Cs) of your contract for the flight, cruise, tour or accommodation. Check these T&Cs and contact the supplier to discuss. 

If travel services are cancelled because of COVID-19, the Australian Consumer Law is unlikely to apply.

We encourage all businesses to work with their customers and treat them fairly. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has also published guidance for the Travel Industry where services have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

If you are unhappy or unsure about whether a refund or other remedy is fair and reasonable, contact Consumer Protection. You may also wish to consider obtaining independent legal advice to understand your rights under common law, contract law and the Australian Consumer Law.

What remedies are available to me after a cancellation?

Check your terms and conditions (T&Cs) to see what cancellation remedy is available in your situation. Depending on your T&Cs, remedies may include a:

  • Full or partial refund; or
  • Full or partial credit note or voucher. A credit note or voucher allows you to use the money you have already paid to the supplier, at a later date. Any credit note or voucher should have a long enough expiration date in order to allow you to use it given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

Can airlines provide credit notes/vouchers during COVID-19?

You will need to review the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of your booking to find out the airline’s obligations around providing a refund, credit or date change.

When it comes to providing credit notes/vouchers, there needs to be a reasonable amount of time given for you to book and use the credit following the lifting of travel restrictions, or the ability to change the name on a booking.

If you feel the airline is not honouring the T&Cs of your booking, always try to raise it with them first. If you still don’t reach a satisfactory resolution, contact Consumer Protection.

Why are my rights different when cancellation is due to government restrictions?

Your rights under the Australian Consumer Law may be different because government restrictions may make it illegal for a business to supply the goods or services.

However, Consumer Protection expects businesses will take reasonable precautions to ensure supply will not be affected by a government restriction before they enter into a contract. 

The ability to obtain a refund may also depend on the terms and conditions (T&Cs) in your contract with the travel supplier. A business cannot change the T&Cs of a contract after a government restriction is introduced. 

If you believe you’re entitled to a refund or other remedy, call Consumer Protection for advice on your particular situation. 

I purchased a flight and accommodation for a trip, but the airline has cancelled the flight. Will I be compensated for the hotel costs?

Refer to the terms and conditions (T&Cs) on your booking, as itinerary changes are usually covered in the contract. You should also check if you are covered under any travel insurance policy that you may have. 

After you have reviewed your T&Cs, contact the business you booked the accommodation through, or contact the accommodation provider directly, to see if they are prepared to offer a refund, replacement or voucher.

You may be entitled to compensation for expenses under the Australian Consumer Law but this will depend on the specific circumstances and whether the cancellation was because of government restrictions.

If you believe you’re entitled to a refund or other remedy, call Consumer Protection for advice on your particular situation. 

I want to cancel my travel booking due to health and safety concerns about COVID-19. What can I do?

If you no longer want to travel due to concerns about COVID-19 and you cancel your booking this may be treated as a 'change of mind'. Review the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of your booking to find out what your options are in this situation.

You may wish to contact your supplier to negotiate options, however re-negotiation can only occur if both parties agree.  

Businesses are encouraged to work with their customers and treat them fairly. Contact Consumer Protection if you feel you are not being fairly treated in your particular situation.

If I cannot use my travel insurance, can I get my money back?

Consumer Protection is urging consumers to check the terms and conditions, particularly coverage and cancellation clauses before they take out insurance, as clauses may have changed. Some major travel insurance providers may offer refunds for customers whose holidays have been cancelled due to COVID-19. Check with your travel insurance provider to see whether a refund is on offer. If you are not able to get your money back and want to lodge a complaint you should go to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

My airline, accommodation provider, cruise operator or tour company has already refunded my travel agent. Why hasn't the agent passed on the money?

Your travel agent may have to seek refunds from multiple suppliers to refund the total amount for your package holiday. There can be delays during COVID-19 if the agent is handling a large amount of cancelled trips.

However, the agent is required to pass on recovered funds to you as soon as possible, even when they are still attempting or have been unable to recover funds from other suppliers involved in your booking. Contact your agent to determine the status of your refund. If they are not responsive, lodge a complaint with Consumer Protection.

BUSINESS CLOSURES

I have a gift card which is due to expire and the business is temporarily closed. What can I do?

Most gift cards supplied after 1 November 2019 should be valid for three years. If yours was supplied after this date and is already due to expire, come to Consumer Protection for advice and assistance.

If the gift card was supplied before 1 November 2019, or is excluded due to nature of the gift card, then we encourage consumers to contact the business to discuss the extension of the gift card to allow for the temporary closure of the business.

Consumer Protection expects that if you are unable to use the gift card while the business is temporarily closed, that the supplier will consider:

  • reimbursing the remaining value on the gift card;
  • extending the expiry period; or
  • amending the terms so you can use it online, if that’s a possibility.

If you are unable to contact the business, or do not have any luck in resolving your issue, come to Consumer Protection.

I left my goods at a business for repairs or alterations and the business has temporarily closed
due to COVID-19. What can I do?

Try to contact the business directly to negotiate the return of your goods. Generally speaking, most businesses will have a way to contact them, so check a variety of channels.

If the business was unable to undertake the repairs or alterations as originally agreed due to COVID-19, you may be entitled to a refund of what you paid or you may be able to negotiate an extension of when the services can be supplied.

If you are unable to contact the business to negotiate the return of your goods or come to an acceptable resolution, come to Consumer Protection.

I have a gift card, or paid for a series of services in advance, and the business has closed permanently.
What can I do?

If a business has become insolvent, you may become an ‘unsecured credit’ if you have:

  • bought or received a gift card and have not used it;
  • been issued with a credit note; and/or
  • paid in advance for products or services.

If the business continues to trade under the control of an external administrator, you may still receive products or services that you have paid for, or be able to use gift cards or credit notes to some extent.

If you have concerns with regard to a closed business, contact Consumer Protection for more advice or see our Insolvency page.

SHOPPING

How can I save money on my groceries during COVID-19?

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused financial hardship for many Australians. One way to help you budget and save while grocery shopping, is using unit pricing. Use the unit pricing link for more information.

Is excessive pricing legal?

A person who has purchased essential goods in a retail transaction on or after 30 January 2020, and for the period of the COVID-19 emergency, is prohibited from on-selling the same goods for more than 120 per cent of the original purchase price. For example, hand sanitiser purchased for $10 cannot be resold for more than $12. The initial purchase must have been a ‘consumer-facing’ or retail transaction, rather than wholesale purchases made by major suppliers, manufacturers or legitimate business activities. 

What are essential goods?

Any of the following used to limit the transmission of COVID-19 are considered essential goods:

  • disposable face masks;
  • disposable gloves;
  • disposable gowns;
  • goggles, glasses or eye visors; 
  • alcohol wipes; 
  • hand sanitiser.

Report price gouging of essential goods via the AFP website.

Is the private re-sale of consumer goods legal?

Yes, and private sellers can re-sell ordinary consumer goods, such as toilet paper, soap or pasta, and set the prices they choose. It is up to consumers to decide whether they pay the asking price. 

However, there are rules around the sale of essential goods such as face-masks and hand sanitiser. See 'Is excessive pricing legal?' above.

How can members of the community who are isolating at home get important shopping such as medical supplies and groceries?

Major supermarkets are offering online delivery services. Friends or relatives may also be able to help.

Australia Post has a Pharmacy Home Delivery Service to assist vulnerable members of the community or people in isolation to access essential medications.

The Department of Communities’ COVID-19 Enquiries Line may be able to help.

My Aged Care offers assistance in relation to food, meals, etc.

Are there any product safety issues when it comes to hand sanitiser?

Australian consumer law regulators are aware of incidents of children ingesting hand sanitiser. A new mandatory information standard has been introduced requiring alcohol based hand sanitiser to display the percentage of alcohol as well as safety and storage information. 

On 16 December, Product Safety Australia issued a recall for White Knight Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser 500mL and White Knight Sweet Berry Antibacterial Hand Sanitiser 500mL. The alcohol content is less than stated on the label so may reduce effectiveness and increase the risk of illness.

Can a business insist on contactless payment?

There is no law that prevents a business from either refusing or insisting on a specific method of payment, however we encourage all businesses to clearly display their preferred method to prevent any confusion and ensure consumers are aware before their purchase. More information is available on the Reserve Bank of Australia website. 

Given the highly infectious nature of COVID-19 coronavirus, we encourage consumers to be patient with businesses who have introduced contactless payments as a safety measure for employees and customers.

I have ordered goods online and delivery is delayed. What should I do?

Contact the supplier immediately to ask whether the goods are still available and when you can expect delivery.

Many businesses are struggling to manage delays in supply so we urge you to be patient and anticipate some deliveries may take longer than usual. Check delivery providers’ websites regarding delays. 

If the goods do not arrive in the agreed timeframe or a reasonable amount of time, your Australian Consumer Law rights mean you can ask for a refund or other remedy such as a credit note. 

If you believe you’re entitled to a refund or other remedy and the business is not offering you any assistance, call Consumer Protection for advice on your particular situation. 

How are retail trading hours in WA affected?

It is always best to check opening hours with your local store. Consumer Protection also has a retail trading hours page that is updated if extended trading hours permits are granted.

GIFT VOUCHERS

I have a gift voucher for a venue (such as a theatre, concert hall, museum, cinema, live music venue, amusement park or zoo) but cannot prove my vaccination in order to use it. Can I get a refund?

You need to consider that most gift vouchers are valid for a period of three years meaning you may be able to:

  • Wait to use the voucher at a later date, when you may be able to meet the entry requirements associated with a Government vaccine mandate.
  • Sell the voucher to someone who is able to meet any entry requirements.

I have a voucher for a restaurant or café but cannot prove my vaccination in order to use it.  Can I get a refund?

You should check the terms and conditions that applied at the time the voucher was purchased to see if you are entitled to a refund if you are unable to comply with new entry requirements associated with a Government vaccine mandate.

Consumer Protection encourages businesses to be reasonable and to consider offering refunds to consumers in exceptional circumstances.

Consumers with gift vouchers who are denied entry to a venue despite having a valid medical exemption may be entitled to a refund under the Australian Consumer Law and are encouraged to contact Consumer Protection.

Most gift vouchers are valid for a period of three years and so you may wish to consider:

  • waiting to use the voucher at a later date where you may be able to meet the new entry requirements associated with a Government vaccine mandate; or
  • waiting to use the voucher at a later date where any change to the Government vaccine mandate permits you entry; or
  • selling the voucher to someone who is able to meet the current entry requirements.

PETS

I want to buy a pet during COVID-19. Do you have any advice?

Many people are buying family pets during COVID-19 because they are spending more time at home. Before you purchase a pet, we recommend you review our Guide to consumer rights when buying a pet. Think carefully about the right pet for your family, where to buy them from and what to look out for, such as hereditary conditions that are common in particular breeds.

Remember also, that pets are a long term commitment and decisions to get any pet should not be made in haste.

If you buy a pet and something goes wrong, contact the seller to try to resolve the problem. If you do not get a suitable outcome, come to Consumer Protection.

SPORT AND GYM MEMBERSHIPS

I have a gym fitness studios / fitness centre membership and I cannot prove my vaccination.  Can I cancel my membership?

The WA fitness code: guide to the code of practice provides clarity on cancellation of memberships however, you can cancel your membership by giving written notice to the fitness service.

Your membership will finish after:

  • the end of any notice period specified in your agreement; and
  • no more than 30 days from the date you provided written notice.

When you cancel your membership, the fitness service can continue to charge you for the notice period specified in the agreement.

If you cancel your membership before the end of an initial term, the fitness service can also charge you a termination fee, if it is in the membership agreement.

A fitness service must confirm they have received a request to cancel within seven days of receiving it.  The confirmation must be in writing and include:

  • amount of the last payment due; and
  • the date the termination takes effect.

Note that if you have paid your membership in advance, the Code of Practice provides that after any cancelation fees as outlined above, you should be refunded the unused proportion of any fees and charges paid for your agreement

I have a community sport or club membership, such as swimming or junior football. What are my rights?

Community sports club memberships may include the supply of goods or services (uniforms etc.) and fees to participate in events. Each club should be able to tell you what their plans are if they are affected by COVID-19. Clubs may offer a refund or other remedy such as a credit note for any part of the membership package they are no longer able to supply. Clubs can deduct reasonable charges for expenses already incurred.

See our COVID-19 coronavirus - Advice for incorporated associations and clubs page for more information.

If my gym closes for a period of time due to government restrictions, what are my options if I’ve made an upfront payment that covers the gym closure period?

In ordinary circumstances, the Australian Consumer Law prohibits businesses from taking payments when they are unable to supply a service, even when the contract specifies payments can’t be suspended. This means if payments have already been deducted you are normally within your rights to approach the business for a refund.

However, when a service is suspended due to government restrictions (such as in this instance), your right to a full refund may be impacted. You should look at the terms and conditions of your contract and any cancellation policy announced by the business, and get in touch with them directly.

You may also have rights under contract law where the contract can no longer be performed. 

Gyms may sometimes be required to operate with some ongoing restrictions due to government measures.

This could include limited numbers they can accommodate or cleaning schedules that they are required to adhere to. Please visit www.wa.gov.au for information about current COVID-19 restrictions.

If you are unable to resolve any ongoing membership issues with your gym, contact Consumer Protection. 

EVENTS

Can I get a refund if I can’t attend an event due to COVID-19 vaccination proof requirements?

You should check the terms and conditions that applied at the time of the ticket sale to see if you are entitled to a refund if you are unable to comply with new entry requirements associated with a Government vaccine mandate.

Consumer Protection encourages ticket sellers and event organisers to be reasonable and to consider offering refunds to consumers in exceptional circumstances.

Ticketholders who are denied entry to an event despite having a valid medical exemption may be entitled to a refund under the Australian Consumer Law and are encouraged to contact Consumer Protection.

Can I get a refund if an upcoming event is cancelled due to COVID-19?

Event ticket holders, including those with season tickets, should keep up to date with events and any possible cancellations. Promoters and venues have information regarding cancellations on their websites or consumers may receive an email or a text if the promoter has their contact details.

After reviewing the terms and conditions you may wish to contact your supplier to negotiate options, which may include:

  • A refund: the terms and conditions will affect your ability to seek a refund and terminate the contract. If your terms and conditions include a right to a refund at the time the booking was made, the supplier is not able to change these terms at a later date in order to deny providing you with a refund:
  • A credit note or voucher: the supplier may provide you with a credit note or voucher which will allow you to use the money you have already paid to the supplier at a later date. Any credit note or voucher should have a long enough expiration date in order to allow you to use it given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

If you are unable to negotiate a suitable outcome, contact Consumer Protection and we can attempt to negotiate an outcome for you. You may also wish to consider obtaining independent legal advice to understand your rights under common law, contract law and the Australian Consumer Law.

I want to buy tickets to an upcoming event. Should I get ticket insurance?

Consider your personal needs and the insurer's terms and conditions to decide if it's the right product for you.

Each insurer’s terms and conditions will vary, so review the policy in detail to see what coverage is provided and what is excluded.

WEDDINGS

How do I find out about COVID-19 restrictions that may impact my wedding?

Visit www.wa.gov.au for information about current COVID-19 restrictions.

Make sure you are aware of the terms and conditions of your bookings. Contact your suppliers to confirm information about what will happen if you do need to postpone or cancel due to government restrictions. It’s important to know your contract terms and conditions that you originally agreed to cannot be changed in light of government restrictions.

Contact Consumer Protection if further advice is required about your particular situation. 

My venue cancelled my booking. Am I entitled to a refund of my deposit?

If a venue cancelled your booking due to government restrictions, then your rights under the Australian Consumer Law may be impacted. If you haven’t already done so, you should contact the venue to discuss the options available to you. It is important to check the terms and conditions of your booking to determine what happens in the event of a normal cancellation.

After reviewing the terms and conditions you may wish to contact your venue to negotiate options, which may include postponing the event and having the venue:

  • Hold any deposit: the venue may hold any deposit that you have paid for the wedding to be held at a later date.
  • Provide a refund: the terms and conditions will affect your ability to seek a refund and terminate the contract. If your terms and conditions include a right to a refund at the time the booking was made, the venue is not able to change these terms at a later date in order to deny providing you with a refund.
  • Issue a credit note or voucher: the venue may provide you with a credit note or voucher which will allow you to use the money you have already paid to the supplier at a later date. Any credit note or voucher should have a long enough expiration date in order to allow you to use it given ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

If you are unable to negotiate a suitable outcome, contact Consumer Protection and we can attempt to negotiate an outcome for you. You may also wish to consider obtaining independent legal advice to understand your rights under common law, contract law and the Australian Consumer Law.

Some couples may have wedding insurance, if so, it is important to review your policy to see whether you are covered for a cancellation and under what circumstances. If you make a claim on your insurance policy and are dissatisfied with a decision, you can escalate a complaint through the insurer’s Informal Dispute Resolution process.  

If you are not able to get your money back and want to lodge a complaint in relation to your insurance, you should go to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

I ordered my wedding dress online from an overseas supplier and am worried I may not receive it in time.

If you ordered your wedding dress online from overseas and you are worried it may not be delivered in time, contact your supplier immediately to determine whether the dress is still available and when you can reasonably expect to receive it.

We are acutely aware that many businesses are struggling to manage delays in supply so we urge consumers to be patient and anticipate that some deliveries in the current environment may take longer than usual.

If the supplier is unable to provide you with the dress within the timeframe originally agreed, you should be able to obtain a refund or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher.

Contact Consumer Protection for advice, should you need it, on your particular situation.

TELEVISION SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES

What happens if I have paid for a television subscription service and I can no longer access the content I wanted due to COVID-19?

If you signed up with your service provider to receive live sports and these sports are no longer available, we expect you will be able to cancel these services and receive a refund or other remedy in most circumstances, and that you will not continue to be charged for your subscription while services cannot be provided.

If you are not receiving what you signed up for, your provider may allow you to cancel the subscription, put your subscription on hold without charge for the period during which they are unable to supply, or offer you an alternative package in substitution for these live sports. We encourage consumers to contact their service provider to discuss what remedy may be suitable to their individual circumstances and contact Consumer Protection if you are unable to negotiate a fair and reasonable outcome.

FOOD DELIVERY SERVICES

I made an upfront payment that covered a period when the food supply was suspended or stopped. What are my rights?

You should receive a refund or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher for the period the food supply had stopped. 

In ordinary circumstances, the Australian Consumer Law prohibits businesses from taking payments when it is unable to supply a service, even when the contract specifies payments can’t be suspended. 

However, when a service has been suspended due to government restrictions (such as in this instance), your right to a full refund may be impacted.

It is important to look at the terms and conditions of your contract, and any cancellation policy announced by the business.

Contact the business directly to request a refund or other remedy, such as a credit note or voucher. 

SCAMS

Where can I go for WA information on COVID-19 scams?

Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet website has a COVID-19 related scams page. The information is updated as new scams emerge, so save the page to your favourites and check back regularly for updates.

COVID-19 scam warnings issued by the ACCC and ASIC:

Are older Australians being targeted by COVID-19 scams?

Yes. Older Australians in WA are being targeted by scammers using COVID-19 to take advantage of seniors through bogus phone calls, emails or text messages.

This includes attempts to steal personal information or money via:

  • impersonation of government organisations offering benefits, grants or subsidies;
  • text messages claiming to be about COVID-19 testing, with links that install malicious software if clicked; and
  • advertisements falsely offering cures for COVID-19 or fake websites selling in-demand products such as hand sanitiser.

We know social distancing and disconnecting with the community, which has been necessary during COVID-19, results in older people being more vulnerable to scams. Scammers see isolation as a way to manipulate victims and get them to make decisions without consulting anyone.

Consumer Protection/WA ScamNet worked with the Department of Communities, community legal centres and aged care sector organisations on a Seniors Safety Taskforce formed to inform older Western Australians about scams during COVID-19.

See the COVID-19 pandemic scam warning fact sheet for more information.

Watch out for pet scams

An increase in pet scams has been seen during COVID-19.

Often scammers advertise sought-after pets, such as designer puppies, for sale online and offer to ship the pet to you from interstate or overseas. Do your research before buying a pet, and be wary of deals that look too good to be true.

Pet scams usually require you to make payment through a bank transfer. The scammers may blame COVID-19 for delayed delivery or use it as an excuse to ask for extra fees for vet expenses.  In the end, no pet is supplied and generally the money cannot be recovered. If in doubt, contact Consumer Protection or visit WA ScamNet

How do I report a suspected COVID-19 scam?

If you've received a phone, text or email which seems unusual or suspicious, please report it via the WA ScamNet online Report a scam form

MOTOR VEHICLES

I signed to buy a motor vehicle but can't go through with the deal due to COVID-19 - what now?

Consumer Protection encourages motor vehicle dealers and their customers to negotiate in good faith in situations where the contract to purchase cannot be met due to COVID-19.

A dealer has a legal right to seek a maximum of up to 15 per cent of the purchase price as pre-estimated liquidated damages if the contract is terminated by the purchaser. But any fee charged has to be a genuine and reasonable assessment of losses the dealer is likely to incur as a result of the deal not proceeding.

Read more in the Commissioner's blog: Cancelling contracts during COVID-19.

TENANCY

COMMERCIAL TENANCY

ASSOCIATIONS, CHARITIES AND CO-OPERATIVES

Where do I find advice for incorporated associations and clubs regarding COVID-19 coronavirus?

Visit our COVID-19 coronavirus - Advice for incorporated associations and clubs page. We suggest you mark the page as a favourite to view updates.

Where can I go for charities advice regarding COVID-19 coronavirus?

Visit the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission's Charity Operations and COVID-19 page for information about relevant issues.

Charitable collections licence holders have been granted an extension of time to submit the annual financial statements. Licence holders whose annual financial statements are due for lodgement between 31 March 2020 and 30 August 2020 now have until 30 September 2020 to submit the required documents with Consumer Protection. Visit the Financial reporting requirements page for more details.

COVID-19 has created an exceptional set of circumstances significantly impacting charities in Australia. In response, a statement has been developed setting out the enforcement approach to be taken by charitable fundraising regulators across Australia.

Where do I find advice for co-operatives regarding COVID-19 coronavirus?

Visit our COVID-19 coronavirus - advice for co-operatives page for information about relevant issues.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Visit the WA Government's COVID-19 coronavirus page for up-to-date information about the COVID-19 pandemic in Western Australia.

The Department of Health is the source-of-truth for COVID-19 health information in WA

More from Consumer Protection

Other government agencies (external links)

Additional COVID-19 support (external links)

Need some assistance?

If you have had no success with the steps you have taken to resolve a problem with a business or trader, you can make a formal complaint to Consumer Protection.

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