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The JAA anticipates complaints will continue to rise as Code awareness increases
The JAA anticipates complaints will continue to rise as Code awareness increases
 










JAA Code of Conduct complaints on the rise

The Jewellers Association of Australia has released its annual Code of Conduct report, showing that there were three times as many complaints handled this year than in the previous corresponding period.

In the year ended 30 June 2014, the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) Code committee dealt with 13 complaints, with seven relating to the conduct of JAA members and six referring to non-members.

All of the complaints were from industry members – none were from consumers.

The Code of Conduct (the Code) was developed during 2009 and 2010 and aims to provide the industry with guidance on how to comply with consumer and trade practice law.

Code committee chair Colin Pocklington said that releasing an annual report was important because it helped “increase awareness amongst the industry that the Code is operating, and that complaints are in fact being investigated and acted on”.

“A secondary purpose is to communicate to the industry the types of conduct that can result in breaches of the Code,” he added.

Major concerns within the industry
The complaints received in the last year included grievances surrounding misleading information, non-disclosure and use of two-price advertising – the latter being of particular concern, according to Pocklington.

“We at the JAA are concerned that a number of online websites do not realise – or accept – that they are governed by Australian Consumer Law (ACL) in regards to two-price advertising,” he explained. “A few that have come to our attention have modified their practices, while others have been referred to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).”

Pocklington added that another issue which jewellers should be mindful of was the offering of “care plans” and “extended warranties”.

“In some cases, retailers may, in effect, be charging a fee for a right that a consumer already is entitled to under the law,” he explained.

As previously reported by Jeweller, the Code underwent a number of revisions this year following discussions with the ACCC.

Pocklington will be presenting a session on consumer law and the Code at the upcoming JAA International Jewellery Fair in Sydney. The seminar – to be held at 2:00pm on Monday 1 September – will cover recent changes to the law resulting from six major court decisions; other ACL issues, such as signage, care plans, lay-bys, and repairs/warranties; and will provide further details on some of the complaints that were handled by the Code committee.

Pocklington added that he expected the number of complaints over the next 12 months to continue to rise in line with increasing awareness of the Code.

All JAA members are required to be Code signatories. The 2013–2014 annual report is available here.

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