Tougher laws to protect consumers

Consumers are set to be much better protected under fair trading legislation passed by Parliament this week.

After a period of public consultation, changes to the Fair Trading (Gift Cards) Amendment Bill 2018 and Fair Trading (Ticket Scalping) Amendment Bill 2018 will see a major crack down on ticket scalping and give South Australians longer periods to use gift cards.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the legislation will seek to cap the resale price of a ticket to sporting and entertainment events, where organisers have imposed resale restrictions on the event, at 110% of the purchase price.

“This is a sensible change that will still enable people to on-sell their tickets for a reasonable amount, while ensuring that ordinary consumers are not ripped off,” Ms Chapman said.

“Any ticket resale advertisement will also need to disclose certain details – such as the seat number at a concert – so consumers know exactly what they are paying for.”

“The previous Labor Government’s answer to this problem was Section 9 of the Major Events Act which has never once been prosecuted, a damning sign the legislation was just not working. After the public consultation period, we feel this new amended Act will be far more workable in terms of its application and prosecution,” Ms Chapman said.

“Included in the new legislation is a review period of the new provisions within two years to ensure the legislation is working as it should and to consider whether additional measures would be needed in cracking down on ticket scalpers or ‘ticket bots’.

“Additionally, the new law also includes provisions that will enable tickets to be auctioned off when raising money for charity, without having to comply with the 110 per cent limit.

“The former Labor Government ignored this predatory practice for years,” Ms Chapman said.

“The Marshall Government will not be so slack when it comes to protecting South Australia consumers.”

In addition to cracking down on ticket scalping, new laws setting a mandatory three-year time limit for gift cards will be in place before Christmas, providing greater certainty to South Australian consumers in the lead up to the festive season.

“Terms and conditions on gift cards can vary greatly, and often consumers find that they’ve run out of time to use their gift card,” Ms Chapman said.

“These changes will give greater certainty to consumers and ensure they get value for money when they receive a gift card while also ensuring certain groups or promotional offers aren’t captured by this legislation that shouldn’t be,” Ms Chapman said.

This list of exemptions includes ATM cards, prepaid cards, loyalty cards, temporary marketing promotions, or cards, which are redeemable only for a particular good or service.

“While we support a nationally consistent approach, we want to give certainty to local consumers and will be discussing it further at next week’s Consumer Affairs Forum in Canberra.

“Meanwhile, the Federal Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Stuart Robert MP, has congratulated the South Australian Government on these new laws.”

“We will be actively communicating and working with retailers and other stakeholder groups to support a smooth transition to these new laws before the end of the year, giving consumers peace of mind ahead of the festive season,” Ms Chapman said.