The Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) has called for an overhaul of Australia’s consumer protection regulations, saying they are complex and confusing.

“Retailers are faced with a web of regulations across all levels of government. Because of the many inconsistencies, retailers are forced to navigate a minefield of regulations which is complex and costly,” says ANRA CEO Margy Osmond.

“It is also confusing for customers, who are often unsure about their rights. It’s not surprising that people are turning to consumer websites and columns for advice.”

ANRA’s call came as part of its response to the Productivity Commission’s review on consumer policy, which urged governments to develop a simpler, more transparent system.  

“Large retailers recognise that government regulation is important in protecting consumers, but we need to wipe the slate clean and apply a national, consistent approach. This is not only crucial for retailers and their customers, but for the wider business environment,” says Osmond.

 “Retailers are forced to treat customers differently from state to state which hampers their interaction with customers. Customers have every right to expect a level playing field and unfortunately that’s not the case at present.

“Retailers and their customers should not have to pay the price for ineffective and inconsistent regulation – this is an unacceptable burden and an issue that requires urgent attention,” she concludes.