Legal, Management

Small Business InfoLine to protect Victorian businesses

Michelle Hammond /

Victorian small businesses now have increased access to the services of Consumer Affairs Victoria, following the launch of a dedicated Small Business InfoLine.

 

Consumer Affairs Minister Michael O’Brien said the new phone line would deal specifically with enquiries from small businesses with consumer issues.

 

“This new info line is all about ensuring small businesses have a place to go to get the information they need about their rights and obligations under the Australian Consumer Law,” O’Brien said in a statement.

 

Small businesses can contact CAV to report a scam, receive assistance in resolving business disputes, and find information on their rights when something goes wrong with a product or service.

 

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed CAV’s focus on small business, saying it is encouraging to see small businesses treated as customers.

 

“We welcome this initiative – the new InfoLine will be a very useful tool that can be used by small businesses to improve their understanding of the law and their rights under the ACL,” VECCI chief executive Mark Stone says.

 

Under the ACL, which came into effect on January 1 this year, small businesses have rights to repairs, refunds and replacements the same way as consumers.

 

These rights are available to businesses on:

  • Goods or services that cost up to $40,000.
  • Goods or services that cost more than $40,000 and are of a kind ordinarily acquired for domestic, household or personal use or consumption.
  • A vehicle or trailer primarily used to transport goods on public roads.

However, if a business buys goods to resell or to transform into a product to sell, these guarantees do not apply.

 

CAV works closely with small businesses to inform them of their rights and responsibilities, as well as educating them about scams. The launch of the Small Business InfoLine is one aspect of CAV’s services.

 

“We want to ensure small businesses have access to advice, assistance and protection, just as individual consumers do,” O’Brien said.

 

If a small business is experiencing an issue that does not fall within CAV’s jurisdiction, CAV staff will be able to direct enquiries to the appropriate agency.

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