David Whalley (front), owner of Spin Cycle, a NorthLismore repair shop, with apprentices Zachary Nicholson (centre) and Raymond Andrew, all agree that you get what you pay for when it comes to the reliability of your whitegoods.
David Whalley (front), owner of Spin Cycle, a NorthLismore repair shop, with apprentices Zachary Nicholson (centre) and Raymond Andrew, all agree that you get what you pay for when it comes to the reliability of your whitegoods. Jay Cronan

Whitegoods top of complaints list

COMPLAINTS by consumers about whitegoods have topped the NSW Department of Fair Trading’s top 10 list for the 10th year in a row, prompting one local repairer to warn people to purchase carefully.

Spin Cycle refrigerator and washing machine repairs owner David Whalley, of North Lismore, said the figures were no surprise to him.

“People tend to forget that you only get what you pay for,” he said.

Mr Whalley recommended consumers assess their needs accurately and buy appropriately.

“We all want the creature comforts these days, which is fair enough, but you have to get the right machine for the job,” he said.

“Salespeople are good at selling things, and sometimes they might be trying to sell you the one with the biggest profit margin.

“Do your research and check a few internet forums. Larger families will need larger capacity machines. Stick with reputable brands and stay away from the stuff you’ve never heard of.

“Today’s machines have a big job to perform, but you have to remember that things are now built to a price, not a standard.”

Acting Fair Trading Minister, Graham West, said household whitegoods topped the list with 2814 complaints, followed closely by residential building work with 2533 complaints.

“Fair Trading received a total of 39,970 complaints in 2009, compared with 36,814 in 2008, an increase of 8.5 per cent,” he said. “The good news is that the majority of these complaints are resolved quickly after Fair Trading intervention.

“More than 4000 complaints were referred to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal, and more than 3000 were referred to Fair Trading investigators for further examination.

“A small number of complaints (599) were withdrawn, and in 269 cases the trader was in liquidation.”

Mr West said consumers often did not understand their basic rights and responsibilities in the marketplace, saying the key to consumer success was homework.

“It is important consumers know what they are entitled to when it comes to refunds, returns and warranties,” he said. “Every consumer should feel confident they are getting what they pay for.”

TOP 10 COMPLAINTS

Whitegoods and electrical:

2814

Residential building work:

2533

Used cars and motorcycles:

2061

Furniture and manchester:

1843

Auto repairs and servicing:

1726

Technology and hardware:

1719

Building trades and repairs:

1634

Clothing and footwear:

1521

Travel and tourism:

1440

Residential tenancy:

1126



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