I like John Boscawen but for the life of me I cannot understand why he accepted the mantle of Minister of Consumer Affairs. As a strong believer in the doctrine of Caveat Emptor and civil contracts, I dislike the idea of a such a Ministry and I thought John would have held similar convictions. In a recent press release, he advises of changes he intends to make to consumer protection laws.
In particular, these changes will apply to online sales and online auctions, and as well as thinking such interference is unnecessary, I have to wonder as to how its going to be implemented. Without being a damn nuisance. I buy lots of stuff online. I’m happy with things the way they are. I don’t need the government’s “help”, because I know that in the long run, it never is help.
“The Consumer Law Reform Bill represents the most significant changes to consumer laws in more than two decades and brings much-needed clarity in an era of online shopping, extended warranties and self-checkouts,” Mr Boscawen said. “Some of the key changes include:
* The Disputes Tribunal jurisdiction will be extended to cover complaints about misleading and deceptive conduct.
* New goods sold via auctions – and all goods sold via online auction sites – will be subject to the acceptable quality provisions of the Consumer Guarantees Act.
* A prohibition on making unsubstantiated claims will require trader and retailers to take steps to ensure their claims are valid.
* Rules surrounding direct sales, such as door-to-door or telemarketing sales, will apply to all types of transactions, including cash or credit. This used to apply to credit agreements only.
* Auctioneers will have to be registered and will have to meet a number of minimum standards, included accounting for the proceeds of an auction, displaying their licence and complying with the law.
* Carrier services, such as couriers, will be subject to the Consumer Guarantees Act.
These changes will reduce costs and confusion, and make it easier for consumers and businesses to understand their rights and obligations. The Bill will also strengthen the enforcement powers of Government agencies, allowing faster and more effective action to remove unsafe products from the market. It will give courts new powers to ban individuals who repeatedly breach consumer laws.
Really Mr. Boscawen, isn’t this just more power to and intrusion by nanny state? Won’t it just lead to more unaffordable bureaucracy? Can’t we keep the damn government out of online trading? I’m disappointed, really I am.