Territory Stories

Annual Report Commissioner of Consumer Affairs 1990-91 and Annual Report Consumer of Motor Vehicles Dealers 1990



Annual Report Commissioner of Consumer Affairs 1990-91 and Annual Report Consumer of Motor Vehicles Dealers 1990

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Tabled Paper 1022


Tabled Papers for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled by Daryl Manzie


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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encouraged when registering their business to learn of the fair trading pit falls from Consumer Affairs. In concert with Consumer Notes aimed at providing key note information to consumers, the Office also produces the Business Bulletin, a flyer type production used at displays, workshops and distributed throughout industry groups on a topic basis. Subjects covered this year in Business Bulletins have been: Lay-bys; Warning to Motor Vehicle Dealers against using the practice known as jacking; Car dealer fined for breaching section S3C of the Trade Practices Act. The Deputy Commissioner of Consumer Affairs conducted a presentation at the 1991 NT Enterprise Workshop on Consumer Affairs legislation which addressed product design, marketing and advertising. A number of workshops were also conducted by the Deputy Commissioner and other senior officers for trade organisations such as the Motor Trades Association in both Darwin and Alice Springs. Presentations were also made to groups such as the AAITC Conference, the Business Faculty at the Northern Territory University, and public forums relating to Trade Practices and fair trading legislation and the introduction of the new Consumer Affairs Act. The response from these events was very positive and this strategy will be developed further over future years. LAW ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE Each year a number of complaints which indicate contravention of the fair trading legislation are received and investigated, the objective being to secure trader compliance with the law in addition to consumer redress and protection where necessary. A number of strategies are employed ranging from issuing warnings or requesting written undertakings to abide by the law, to the initiation of exemplary prosecution action. Prosecution action is usually lengthy and can quickly exhaust the limited resources of the office. It is therefore initiated only as a result of a serious contravention of consumer legislation which resulted in obvious detriment to a consumer or group of consumers, and when a successful judgement will have an exemplary and positive effect on the market place to stimulate compliance and self regulation amongst other members of an industry or business sector. MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER ADVERTISING During the year in review, Motor Vehicle Dealers continued to advertise in a manner which may have contravened section 53C of the Trade Practices Act and its minor provision, section 50 of the Consumer Affairs & Fair Trading Act by not stating the full cash price in advertisements; even though the first and only prosecution under these provisions occurred in the Territory and was widely publicised in the media and by way of Business Bulletins from the Office of Consumer Affairs. A number of undertakings were required and warnings were issued to motor vehicle dealers throughout the year. 18

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