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Surging volume of consumer complaints blamed on COVID hangover

Complaints about faulty products hit record levels

Dodgy consumer goods are most likely to drive Queenslanders to complain, as pandemic-related supply issues and services shortages continue to frustrate the state.

Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading clawed back more than $11 million in 2022 and consumer complaints continued to eclipse pre-pandemic levels.

Rising cost of living pressures underscored the importance of consumers getting what they paid for, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said.

“Last year the OFT finalised more than 19,300 complaints from Queensland consumers,” Minister Fentiman said.

Personal and household goods garnered the most complaints of any industry at 6200, a more than 50 per cent increase on pre-pandemic levels.

Complaints surge by the thousands

Total consumer complaints processed by the OFT have ranged between 18,500 and 19,300 since the COVID-19 pandemic began, up from an average of around 15,000 in the five years to 2019.

“There has also been an increase of more than 80 per cent in complaints for the personal and household services industry since the pandemic – this industry includes complaints about services such as whitegoods repairs, removalist services and cleaning companies,” Ms Fentiman said.

Motor vehicles sales, real estate agents and vehicle services were Queenslanders’ next three biggest causes for contention.

The Attorney General’s Office said increases were to be expected due to pent-up demand and supply chain issues during COVID-19, and the OFT was monitoring the issue closely.

The government said it expected such issues to ease as supply chain issues resolved, but recommended consumers do their research before lodging a complaint with the OFT.

-AAP

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