Consumer Issues Report

We have been pleased with the response to our annual Consumer Issues Report for the year to 30 June 2017, which was released on 13 September.

The report takes a detailed look at the 7,270 complaints we received during the financial year and covers a range of interesting trends and issues.

Fair Trading Act issues relating to pricing practices, representations of goods and services, warranties and guarantees, and traders with no intention of supply continue to make up the majority of complaints to the Commission. Perhaps not surprisingly, the number of consumers reporting they were misled online continues to increase, alongside the growth of online shopping.

Telecommunication services continue to be the most complained about industry, ahead of domestic appliance retail, motor vehicle retail and sales, electricity retail, and grocery products and supermarkets.

On the consumer credit front, complaints about issues such as irresponsible lending, repossession practices, and consumer hardship protections have increased by nearly a quarter on our previous report. We continue to prioritise work in this area because of the significant harm such practices can cause already vulnerable consumers.

In the area of the Commerce Act, while the number of merger clearance applications has decreased, the complexity of applications has increased. The number of investigations into non-notified mergers has also increased.

We would like to thank the government and community agencies who contributed to making this year’s report such a valuable insight into the issues facing consumers.

We have also been pleased with the growing acceptance of the report and constructive response from the businesses and sectors mentioned. We hope the report’s insights will drive behavioural change for the benefit of consumers.

The full report and infographic illustrating the key findings can be found on our website.