Compliance program

The Office of Fair Trading’s role is to ensure businesses, including industries we licence, consistently comply with fair trading laws.

To do this, each year we conduct a coordinated program of:

  • compliance monitoring―making sure the businesses are following the law
  • enforcement activities—taking action when businesses don’t follow the law
  • educational activities―informing businesses about their responsibilities under the law.

In addition to our activities throughout Queensland, we also participate in national compliance and education programs with our regulatory agencies.

Compliance strategy

Our compliance approach is cycle based. Each compliance operation gives us a chance to better understand trader behaviour, which in turn helps develop strategies to encourage and monitor compliance with the law.

We target our compliance resources based on identified risks and analysis of the marketplace. We focus our efforts on industry sectors, licensees and traders most likely to cause harm, and consumers most at risk.

The majority of traders in Queensland want to comply with the law. Our regulatory response escalates as a trader’s attitude to compliance deteriorates.

Our compliance and enforcement policy and standards detail how we respond to trader non-compliance.

Our compliance pyramid showing the compliance strategy. The compliance strategy ranges from making it easy for people who are willing to do the right thing to using the full force of the law with people who decide not to comply.

Operations are conducted:

  • across Queensland by our compliance teams based in Brisbane, Cairns, Hervey Bay, Mackay, Maroochydore, Rockhampton, Southport, Toowoomba and Townsville
  • by our major investigations team in Brisbane
  • by our product safety team.

Scheduled compliance checks

The core of our compliance program consists of scheduled operations , performed by inspectors. Our inspectors make announced or unannounced visits to traders to check they are complying with the law.

Our inspectors can also do unscheduled compliance checks in response to:

  • a complaint from a consumer or trader
  • emerging issues or trends.

Find out more about our fair trading inspectors.

In 2018/19, we will undertake the following scheduled compliance operations.

Locksmith industry Check unlicensed traders working as locksmiths and advertising services that may not be appropriately licensed.
Discount retailersCheck discount retailers are in compliance with consumer law rules including was/now pricing and product placement.
Charity collectorsReview conduct/behaviour of charity street collectors.
Security providersCheck they are following licensing rules and conduct provisions during Schoolies. Revisit non-compliant traders detected earlier in 2017/18
Resident letting agents and real estate agentsCheck they are following licensing rules and conduct provisions during Schoolies. Revisit non-compliant traders detected earlier in 2017/18
Motor dealersCheck unlicensed motor dealers (backyarders) and any ‘licensed’ dealers attempting to sell vehicles as ‘private’ and avoid their responsibilities under industry legislation.
Property industryCheck real estate agents and resident letting agents who have been identified as lodging late audit reports.
Funeral industryReview obligations of funeral industry and protecting vulnerable consumers. Check compliance with consumer protection legislation – the Australian Consumer Law and Funeral Benefits Business Act 1982.
ImportersIncrease compliance in the importer industry and to reduce the supply of non-compliant unsafe products to the marketplace.
Online businessesCheck compliance with consumer protection and product safety obligations by online suppliers – specifically under the Australian Consumer Law.
EkkaCheck showbags and other novelty items for sale at the Ekka are safe.
Second-hand dealers and pawnbrokersTargeting second-hand dealers and pawnbrokers identified as non-compliant in 2017/18.
Property industryCheck real estate agents who have not been the subject of an OFT visit in the last 2 years.
Removalist industryRevisit non-compliant traders identified during education operation in 2017/18.
Christmas toysAnnual check of children’s toys and products to ensure unsafe items are not on sale in the lead-up to Christmas.
Retail industryIncrease compliance in the retail sector and to reduce the supply of non-compliant unsafe products to the marketplace.
Product safety standardsCheck compliance with product safety standards in the retail sector to reduce supply of non-compliant or unsafe products.
Motor dealersRevisit non-compliant traders detected in 2017/18.
Tattoo studiosCheck compliance with industry legislation and investigate unlicensed operators.

Educational visits

We assist licensees in the industries we regulate by hosting educational forums and conducting educational compliance visits. These visits are an opportunity to discuss and ensure there are no breaches of fair trading laws with a trader’s business practices, and to give guidance to ensure compliance with the law.

Property industryEducational visits with trust account auditors on common compliance issues experienced in property industry.
Fitness industryInform fitness providers of their obligations when completing client membership agreements.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)In collaboration with Community Stakeholder Engagement and Education Team, education visits to NDIS providers outlining requirements under the Australian Consumer Law.
Motor dealer industryEducation visits to newly licensed motor dealers or those with a recent history of non-compliance.

Our outreach program ensures regional and remote Queensland towns receive educational and compliance visits.

OFT outreach program.

National projects

We coordinate education and compliance activities with fair trading agencies from the Australian Government as well as other states and territories, who also operate under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Details of the 2018/19 national project calendar will be included here when projects are confirmed.