Thanks to improvements in Australian consumer laws, Australian shoppers are happier than ever. The second Australian Consumer Survey results also show that if they’re not, Australian shoppers are comfortable with taking action to resolve disputes themselves.
The survey also highlighted some interesting changes in Australian shopper behaviour since 2011. According to the results, we are:
- More inclined to take action when a problem arises and
- Legally better off as more resolutions are being found without legal intervention.
The survey also found that:
- Reduction in problems: There is a reduction in the proportion of Australian consumers who experienced problems related to buying goods or services.
- More proactive consumers: Consumers were more likely to take action to resolve their problems (82% in 2016 vs 75% in 2011). Both surveys showed a similar proportion of consumers who said that their problem was resolved satisfactorily (47% in 2016 vs 48% in 2011). Most resolved cases (84%) were settled directly between the consumer and the trader.
- Slightly lower costs to consumers: It costs consumers an estimated $16.31b each year to deal with problems (slightly lower than $16.36b in 2011). The number of consumer problems decreased significantly, but a higher proportion of consumers are now taking action to resolve their problems and there has been an increase in the direct costs incurred per consumer.
- Significantly lower costs to businesses: Consumer problems cost Australian businesses an estimated $18.03b per year (which is significantly lower than $21.56b in 2011). This is due to the lower incidence of these problems. However, the time spent dealing with each problem has increased (an average of 3.18 hours per issue vs 2.54 hours in 2011).
- Media release, Kelly O’Dwyer Minister for Small Business Assistant Treasurer, “Australian Consumer Law positive for consumers and businesses”, 8 May 2016.
- Australian Consumer Survey consumerlaw.gov.au/australian-consumer-survey.