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5 November 2020

Consumer complaints jump 10 percent

Nearly 10,000 complaints received by the Commerce Commission.

Covid-19 has sparked a jump in complaints to the Commerce Commission, with travel topping the list of the most complained-about industries.

Of the 9892 complaints the commission received this year, 20 percent related to Covid-19. Many were about cancelled travel and problems getting refunds from airlines and travel agents, as well as accommodation providers and rental car companies.

Complaints about products claiming they could protect consumers from Covid-19 also featured.

The commission’s annual report shows Fair Trading Act complaints about telcos also rose, up four percent this year to 761. Telcos have regularly featured as one of the most complained-about industries.

Telcos were followed by appliance and electronic stores (467 complaints), car dealers (398), the construction industry (393) and supermarkets (307).

Complaints to the commission reflect those we receive, and show the lack of compliance with fair trading and credit laws remains a major issue.

About 50 percent of complaints to the commission were about online traders, highlighting the increase in consumers shopping online.

Complaints about potential breaches of consumer credit law were also up.

In the year to June, 138 complaints alleged irresponsible lending practices, up from 70 in 2017. Debt-collection practices attracted 145 complaints.

Another 256 complaints alleged traders were using anti-competitive practices in breach of the Commerce Act.

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