Items like fridges received more complaints in 2009.
Items like fridges received more complaints in 2009.

Whitegoods top list of complaints

COMPLAINTS, complaints.

We’re forever complaining, say some.

This doesn’t work, that has broken after two days . . . you get the picture.

We’ve all been there in some shape or form.

A new study by the department of Fair Trading has revealed its Top 10 complains – with some surprising results.

White goods and residential builders were the two frontrunners – with the former topping the list for the 10th year running.

Fair Trading Minister Graham West said the department had received 39,970 complaints in 2009, up from the 36.814 the previous year.

“The good news is that the majority of these complaints are resolved quickly, after Fair Trading intervention,” Mr West said.

“Over 4000 complaints were referred to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal and more than 3000 were referred to Fair Trading investigators for further examination.”

The information released by the State Government shows a small number of complaints (599) were withdrawn and in 269 cases, the trader was in liquidation.

The Top Ten complaints were:

1. Household Electrical and Whitegoods – 2814.

2. Residential Building Work, including major renovations – 2533.

3. Used cars and motorcycles – 2061.

4. Goods, including furniture, furnishings and Manchester – 1843.

5. Automotive repairs and servicing – 1726.

6. Computer technology and hardware – 1719.

7. Building trades, including household repairs – 1634.

8. Goods, including clothing, footwear and accessories – 1521.

9. Travel and Tourism – 1440.

10.Residential Tenancy – 1126.

“In a lot of cases, consumers did not understand their basic rights and responsibilities in the marketplace,” Mr West said.

The key to consumer success, according to the department, is homework.

“It is important that consumers know what they are entitled to when it comes to refunds, returns and warranties,” Mr Wes said.

“Every consumer in New South Wales should feel confident they are getting what they pay for.”

  • Know your rights and responsibilities;
  • Keep your receipts as proof of purchase;
  • Keep any warranty information;
  • First always try and negotiate with the seller, in person or in writing;
  • Contact the seller as soon as possible;
  • Be polite;
  • Be reasonable;
  • If you encounter difficulties with a salesperson, ask to speak to someone more senior such as the store manager;
  • Remind them of your statutory rights (you’d be surprised how many salespeople and traders are unaware of statutory warranties); and
  • If you encounter any difficulties in negotiating with the seller contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20 for help and advice.

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