The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched FairStore, a best practice guide for owners, operators and staff of retail stores serving Indigenous communities in rural and remote areas of Australia.

FairStore provides information on traders’ obligations under the Australian Consumer Law; touching on topics such as fair sales practices, consumer guarantees and product safety. FairStore also provides important information for traders who are currently, or are considering, offering credit services or book up (sometimes referred to as “tiki”) to their customers.

“The same consumer law applies to a remote community store as to a high-end fashion boutique in the Melbourne CBD,” ACCC deputy chair Michael Schaper said.

“Consumers have the right to request that faulty products are repaired, replaced and where there is a major fault, given a refund. Importantly, consumers also have the right to expect products are safe to use.”

As part of the FairStore launch, the ACCC will be sending copies of FairStore to hundreds of traders across Australia.

Schaper said that FairStore will help store owners and their employees to better understand some of their legal rights and responsibilities when dealing with customers.

“Often small businesses are unaware of their legal obligations,” he said.

“Helping stores in Indigenous communities understand how to comply will benefit Indigenous consumers who may similarly be unsure of their consumer rights.”

“This publication has been produced to address concerns that some businesses may be unclear when pricing products, displaying no refund signs or signing customers up to contracts with unfair terms and conditions.

“Businesses should be aware that the ACCC can take action against any trader that doesn’t meet their obligations under the consumer law.”

A free copy of FairStore is available on the ACCC website or call the Indigenous Infoline on 1300 303 143.