$8m returned to Qld consumers after complaints
QUEENSLAND consumers have had millions of dollars returned to them in the past year after thousands of traders were snared by the state's consumer protection agency.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the Office of Fair Trading managed to recoup more than $8 million in 2019 through refunds, repairs, replacements and compensation after investigating almost 16,000 complaints.
The personal and household goods industry topped the list for the most complaints, with real estate agents and the car sales industry also listed in the top five.
In the past 12 months, the OFT has taken traders across several industries to court for consumer law breaches, including a dog breeder who was slapped with a $14,500 fine for failing to supply puppies.
A bitumen supplier was also hit with a $64,000 fine, while a tradie was fined $10,000 for not installing pool fences.
Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said while the vast majority of Queensland traders complied with the law, there was always a minority that did the wrong thing.
"The results from 2019 are a testament to the great work of the Office of Fair Trading and effectiveness of Queensland's consumer protection regime," she said.
"They're working to create a fairer and safer marketplace for all Queenslanders through a combination of compliance, enforcement and education activities."
The over $8 million recouped last year was down slightly from 2018's haul of about $8.4 million when the consumer protection agency finalised over 16,000 complaints.
The average payout for each finalised complaint in 2019 was about $512.
More than half of the money returned to consumers last year came about through the OFT's conciliation process.
The Brisbane area had the most complaints, with almost 10,000 gripes lodged with the OFT, leading to more than $2.6 million being hauled backed.
This was followed by the Sunshine Coast area, with $1.11 million recouped and the Gold Coast area where the OFT clawed back $1.07 million.
There were over 4,100 complaints lodged statewide with the OFT in the past 12 months about the personal and household goods industry, while more than 1,800 complaints were made about the motor vehicle sales industry.
The motor vehicle services, repairs and parts industry was also among the top five industries for complaints with 952 lodged in 2019.
TOP FIVE INDUSTRIES WITH COMPLAINTS
1. Personal and household goods (e.g. furniture, whitegoods, TVs, computers): 4,164 complaints
2. Motor vehicle sales: 1,856 complaints
3. Personal and household services (e.g. repairs to whitegoods, hair dressers, gardening): 1,508 complaints
4. Real estate agents: 1,158 complaints
5. Motor vehicles services, repairs, parts: 952 complaints