Working with local communities is an integral part of what we do at Fair Trading.
To make sure we serve you as best as we can, we have put together an action plan. This page includes examples and links to our outreach activities which cover the following four areas:
Connecting with you
We work directly with communities to raise awareness of fair trading issues and give a helping hand when you encounter difficulties in the marketplace. Last year, our frontline staff answered 1.4 million enquiries.
At Fair Trading, we support vulnerable audiences through proactive community education initiatives and partnerships, such as the following.
- The Think Smart multicultural program addresses specific consumer issues facing migrants. It is a community-based partnership focused on building long-term relationships with community organisations and multilingual media.
- The Fair Go program increases awareness and understanding of consumer rights and responsibilities within the Aboriginal communities of NSW through long-term relationships with Indigenous community organisations.
- Reaching out to seniors though the popular Seniors guide (PDF size: 845kb), dedicated audio resources and visits to retirement villages.
We also meet customers in their own online communities and join in social media conversations. We have an active social media presence and engage with our customers on Facebook and Twitter. Our YouTube channel has video clips with information on tenancy issues, living in a strata scheme, buying or selling property, smart shopping, avoiding scams, door-to-door sales and more.
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Educating consumers and traders
We inform the community about their rights and responsibilities as traders and consumers through seminars in the local communities and an active schools program.
Below are some examples of our ongoing community activities aimed at educating young people.
- Revved Up - free information sessions teach high school students their rights and responsibilities when buying a car.
- Money Stuff Challenge - a state-wide competition for high school students in years 8 to 10 designed to raise awareness of consumer issues including scams, managing money and avoiding debt traps.
We also run information seminars, events and online programs aimed to assist the following groups in the community:
- motor dealers and repairers
- property professionals
- retirement village operators
- builders and tradespeople
Our staff also delivers free seminars in local communities about consumers’ rights and responsibilities on a range of topics including:
- tenancy - for landlords and people who rent
- incorporated association
- strata living
- consumer rights
- retirement village living.
For more information, go the free community talks section on the Supporting local communities page or email FairTradingSeminars@finance.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.
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Safeguarding your rights
We protect the rights of all consumers and traders by enforcing fair trading laws. Our inspectors carry out on the spot compliance checks on businesses in the community. We work with small businesses to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities.
Below are some examples of community activities we run.
- Proactive inspection programs – We conduct regular inspections of businesses and traders in selected industries in NSW to make sure they comply with the law. Industries include home building, motor vehicle, health and fitness, pawnbrokers and travel agents. We also check that a builder or trader is properly licensed to carry out the work they are doing.
- Product safety inspections – We play an active role in ensuring that products for sale in the shops are safe for consumers and comply with national product safety laws. Our product safety inspections focus on children’s nursery furniture, toys, electrical items, gas appliance, treadmills, blinds, curtains and other articles which may harm or injury consumers.
- Investigations and enforcements – To be effective, compliance measures must be backed up with a range of escalating enforcement options that can be used if a business fails to comply or where there is a serious breach of fair trading laws. Where minimum standards are not being met, we issue fines and prosecute individual businesses and dodgy traders for breaches of the law.
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Empowering the people of NSW
We empower the community through timely communication solutions aimed at people on the go as well as funding community programs
Here are some examples of the current community activities we undertake.
- Community grants – We fund community-based organisations to provide advice, information, advocacy and community education on fair trading related issues. We also provide funding to industry or educational organisations for training, research or community education projects, which will enhance the professionalism of the property services, home building and motor vehicle repair industries and provide better outcomes for consumers.
- Online and mobile information services – We promote and manage online and mobile information solutions aimed at increasing community access to our services. For example, we provide online public registers so you can check the licences for conveyancers, home builders, property service providers, as well as providing registers of residential parks and approved electrical articles. In addition, you can access our services via our mobile website, free smart phone apps and free enewsletters.
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