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10 July 2010

Office of Fair Trading Smart Business Bulletin

July 2010

Welcome to the July edition of the Smart Business Bulletin, linking Queensland businesses with fair trading information and tips.

Message from the Minister

July not only marks the start of a new financial year, but this year also signals the transition of a number of regulatory functions from the Office of Fair Trading to the Commonwealth.  These transitions are just some of Council of Australian Governments (COAG) projects currently underway to ensure a more streamlined approach to regulation.

We will continue to update you on our remaining COAG reforms through this e-bulletin, the OFT website, and where possible, information sessions or direct mail.

For more information on COAG and its plans for reform, visit www.coag.gov.au 

What's in the news?

Before you donate, check the organisation is legit

Have you ever wanted to donate but weren't sure your money was going to the right place?

The Office of Fair Trading's new online register allows you to check if a charity is registered to fundraise or if an association is incorporated in Queensland.

Dodgy Brisbane painter ordered to pay up

In a win for registered builders, a dodgy Brisbane painter was recently ordered to pay more than $10,000 for falsely claiming he had a Building Services Authority licence and failing to register his business name. This prosecution by the Office of Fair Trading acts as a warning to other operators who might try to work around the system to undercut those people doing the right thing, or to make their dodgy deals harder to trace.

Features

What's fair got to do with it?

On 1 July consumers gained greater powers when it comes to standard form contracts (contracts where consumers have limited or no option to negotiate, such as gym memberships, mobile phones and credit cards).

If you believe a contract term is unfair, you can contact the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC), or for contracts relating to financial services, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

For more information on Unfair Contract Terms law and who it applies to, visit

www.accc.gov.au or

www.fido.gov.au

Not new… just improved.

Fair Trading's annual forms update

Fair Trading's annual forms update is now complete, with one major improvement – you can now save a partially completed form for later!

It's easy to tell if you're using an up-to-date form with the correct fee information – just look for "Effective from 1 July 2010" in the top left hand corner, under the form name.

Trade measurement goes to the Feds

On 1 July 2010 Fair Trading passed the trade measurement baton to the National Measurement Institute, Australia's peak measurement body.

For more information on the transition to the national system, visit
www.measurement.gov.au

Consumer credit goes to the Feds

Responsibility for the regulation of consumer credit passed to the Commonwealth on 1 July 2010.

If you have not yet registered for a credit license you will need to stop providing or facilitating consumer credit immediately and contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for advice.

The Queensland Government will continue to regulate the interest rate cap.

Get involved in Queensland Week 2011 – sponsorships now open

Queensland Week is a special time for all Queenslanders to celebrate what's great about our State.

Each year, a range of diverse activities are held that involve families, businesses, schools and a range of community groups throughout the State, each celebrating Queensland's people, places and achievements.

The Queensland Government is offering sponsorships up to $10,000 to help you get involved in Queensland Week 2011.
 

Business tips

Not… happy… Jan… The scam targeting small business

Queensland businesses are being targeted by a fake fax claiming to be from Yellow Pages. The fax offers to make company details available on Google Maps.

Fake Yellow Pages websites also form part of the scam, designed to make you part with your money.

For information on fax back and other scams targeting businesses, visit our 'common scams' page.

Fair Trading drives good business practise in the car rental industry

More than 500 car rental businesses were invited to attend free information seminars in Cairns, the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Proprietors were given advice and information to help them ensure their business complies with the law, particularly in relation to advertising and business management practises.

For more information, visit our 'car rental' page.

How smart is your incorporated association?

A new guide is now available to help Incorporated Associations run smoothly. The 'Incorporated Associations Smart Business Guide' covers everything from financial management, to running meetings, to your association's rules.

You can view or download a copy from our website.

Hard copies will also be available for order from the Queensland Government bookshop in the coming weeks.

Don't get brought down by advertising

When it comes to advertising we've seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. But at the end of the day there is just one golden rule… don't be misleading.

For information on how to ensure your advertising is ok, visit our 'advertising and marketing' page.

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