As previously reported, NSW Parliament has been considering amendments to the Fair Trading Act 1987 (NSW) that will allow the Commissioner of Fair Trading to implement a public register naming and shaming businesses about whom complaints have been received.
The Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council on 13 October 2015 without amendment and received Royal Assent on 22 October 2015. The Bill provides that the changes commence on a day to be appointed by proclamation, with some reports that the Register will be operational in early 2016.
The Legislative Review Committee reviewed the proposed amendments and noted the privacy implications of the proposed amendment as well as the impact of the bill applying retrospectively, with no time limit as to how far back NSW Fair Trading can go to publish information. But the Committee found the consumer protection objectives of the Bill compelling.
As previously blogged, the details of the complaints register are still being finalised, such as how often it will be updated and if there should be a minimum threshold for the number of complaints received before a name is published. NSW Fair Trading is still consulting with key industry and consumer groups and is currently seeking further feedback through an online public survey (submissions close on 30 October 2015), based on a recently published discussion paper.