Consumer Affairs Victoria – Consumers let down during COVID-19

Victorian consumers have been let down during COVID-19 with the Andrews Labor Government failing to provide an adequate avenue for people to have their complaints handled.

The Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) website is the only option for consumers to have their complaints handled, and to be given advice on their responsibilities and rights in the consumer marketplace.

According to the website, Consumer Affairs Victoria provides advice and assists on topics including rentals and accommodation, estate agents and their responsibilities, building and construction issues, shopping and trading.

The arrogance of the Andrews Labor Government can be seen in the wording on the CAV website:

“We currently have limited services available. We will assess and respond to urgent matters as quickly as possible. Urgent residential tenancy and small business matters are priorities. If we consider your matter is not urgent, you will not receive a response.”

Since March 16, the phone lines at CAV have been inoperative even though the phone number is still listed and has been listed as a reduced service.

CAV was the responsibility of former Minister Marlene Kairouz until she resigned over Labor’s branch stacking scandal last month.

The new Minister needs to urgently sort this mess out.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs, Neil Angus:

“The Andrews Labor Government can’t continue to put the public on-hold. There are issues with warranty cut-off dates, refunds for products and services, as well as other time-sensitive consumer issues that people are entitled to receive advice on.

“To be told by the Government that they will decide on what is considered “not urgent” and subsequently will not “receive a response” is showing disrespect and treating Victorian consumers with disdain.

“Not every Victorian has access to the website. Additionally, if telephones are not being answered and emails are not being responded to, then a lot of people are being unfairly disadvantaged.”

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