The Checkout – Season 4 Episode 1

(TRIGGER WARNING) This program contains content
that may offend some viewers. WOMAN: (OVER PA) Attention, shoppers. Tonight on The Checkout,
Kirsten asks – what if hotel booking websites
aren’t good news for consumers? Ben looks into the future of
consumer rights online beyond 2000. And it’s Dick Smith
closing-down madness in FU Tube, as Jules looks at gift cards –
the gift that doesn’t keep on giving. (THEME MUSIC) Back in the day, if you were
looking for a place to stay, you had to ask each hotel
about vacancies and room rates. I say! Is there any room at the inn? Nup.
(Sighs) But now there are dozens
of online hotel booking sites that instantly show you
where rooms are available and how much they’ll cost. Hotel booking sites
all make the same basic promise. Book your next escape
with Expedia, and you can save. Find the best price
in seconds at With so many rooms at such great
rates, why not, when you can Wotif? But what if hotel comparison sites
don’t get us a better deal? See, originally these sites
were just a way for hotels to list their unused rooms
at a discount so they’d get some money for rooms
that otherwise would be empty and travellers
could get cheaper accommodation. Any accommodation at this point
would be great. But pretty soon, booking sites became a major source
of business for hotels. According to the ACCC, some hotels depend on them
for more than half their bookings. And, as you’d expect,
the booking sites take a cut. The thing is, the size of that cut
has been steadily climbing. Since 2010, Expedia’s commission rate
has gradually grown from 9% to 15%. And others followed suit. Even beloved Australian startup
Wotif, which back in 2011 bragged that
hotels listed on its site were… ..has recently raised its commissions
to 15%, too. Because that’s the level dictated by
Expedia, the ‘international behemoth’ that bought Wotif for $700 million
in 2014. By the way, this is exactly what
the ACCC was warned would happen if they
allowed the acquisition to go ahead. Today, about 85% of the market
is owned by the same two companies – Expedia, and Priceline Group. So if you’re using
or or Lastminute or Agoda
or Wotif or HotelClub, the results all come
from these two providers. Expedia and Priceline Group also run
two of the main metasearch engines, trivago and KAYAK,
that compare the comparison sites. And since hoteliers can’t afford not to have their rooms listed
on these sites Could they be jacking their prices up partly to make up
for what they lose in commissions? Well, it depends on who you ask. One hotelier told The Checkout: “Motel rates and travel costs
are increasing “because of the stranglehold
of accommodation search engines…” But the booking sites argue
that they… “..actively help keep prices lower
for consumers…” being: “..a highly cost-effective
marketing channel…” $112 dollars?! How much is that in denarii?
(SCOFFS) Idiot. Hey, wise man,
what do you make of all this? You can always call the hotel
directly before making a booking
through an online comparison site. They can often get you
a better deal. Oh, and, uh, have some frankincense. Worst baby shower ever. Dude’s right though. When we called
a random selection of hotels across Australia, we found savings of up to 25% compared to the booking sites. “Book direct and save!”
“Guaranteed best rate!” Ballsy move,
given most booking sites make hotels agree to parity clauses
like this one: You agree that
the rates you provide to Expedia will be equal to or better than those made available through your own
or any third-party channels. Now, these parity clauses are meant to stop hotels
from offering you better rates, but some hotel chains get around them by offering discounts
through loyalty schemes. It may be worth joining
one of these loyalty programs, especially if you’re
a frequent traveller. Sure, they might share
your data with third parties, but they generally promise
better deals, including perks
like free hotel wi-fi. Hey, wise man, aren’t you supposed
to give us some gold or something? Free wi-fi
is worth much more than gold! Meanwhile, in Germany last year, parity clauses were banned
by their competition regulator, the ‘Bundeskartellamt’,
which can I just say, not only sounds heaps cooler
than the ACCC but also has a way better logo. I mean, just look at it! It’s a bad-arse eagle
with mad talons, flexing its guns
and looking like a boss. And I mean, I’m not saying we should
always follow Germany’s lead, but come on, ACCC, this is lame! It’s not that bad! So, Germany recently banned
parity clauses. Why? Because… (GERMAN ACCENT) “They limit
competition between existing portals as well as competition
between the hotels and there is no apparent benefit
for the consumer!” And the French soon followed suit. Oui.
We also think they are shit. The ACCC is currently looking
into the impact of parity clauses. In the meantime, we at The Checkout,
on behalf of Australian consumers, would like to put forward our view… ALL: They suck! So we really hope
you ban them here, too. Oh, and get a better logo. You can talk! Now, despite all of these problems, there are some benefits
to using hotel booking sites. For example,
some of them offer things like car hire and flight packages along with accommodation. They sometimes offer
great special deals that you can’t find elsewhere. Hey, look at this! 40% off mystery hotel deal! Five stars, spa in the ensuite,
and Foxtel…whatever that is. And they’re quick and convenient
to use. Ah, just (BLEEP) book it, Joe! Which doesn’t mean
you won’t run into any issues. The good news is your
consumer rights still protect you. So if have any issues with a room
paid for through a booking site, like for example if it doesn’t match
the description… Hey, where’s the spa bath? ..the booking site is responsible. They should resolve any issues
and give you a refund if necessary. Don’t let them
fob you off to the hotel. Good job, lady.
Here’s your myrrh. I can’t wait for them
to invent gift cards. Remember the Worx Chair we designed? Oh, yeah, the one with
the ‘industrial look’ and a ‘funky modern edge’. Did we design it with an
‘entrapment and laceration hazard’ that can cut off your toes? (SIGHS) Look, we design so many
chairs, I honestly can’t remember. Jenny, do you remember
the Worx Chair? (GASPS)
laceration hazard’ does ring a bell. VOICEOVER: If you bought
the Worx dining chair, contact Fantastic Furniture to get
these free anti-laceration plugs. (GROANS)
For the stool! Or you can return it
for a full refund. If you’re strapped for cash, setting up a house
can seem impossible. So instead of buying products, you might consider a consumer lease
to get the things you need. Whoo! I said “the things you need”.
Oh… You can hire appliances
from Radio Rentals, Mr Rental and plenty of others. Here you go. Yours for two years.
Sign here. (THUNDER CRASHES, DEMONIC LAUGH) Weird. The fortnightly payments
may seem manageable, but you need to figure out how much
you’ll spend over the whole contract. ‘Cause it can be heaps. Like WAY more than the retail price. Like this much more
than the retail price. So when Radio Rentals say that you can buy the product for $1
at the end of the lease, that’s not quite as generous
as it seems. (CHUCKLES) Just one more dollar. (LAUGHS) What if you’re really
strapped for cash, like you’re on Centrelink? After all, these companies specifically target
welfare recipients. I’m on benefits and I got a fair go. Sorry. I thought that clip
was gonna be longer. And lending to welfare recipients
isn’t a risk for these companies. There’s a thing called Centrepay
that allows the government to pay Centrelink benefits
directly to the rental companies, which makes the leases
a lot less risky. Yeah! Less risk! Less risk for the rental company. Oh, heck. Around 50% of Radio Rentals’
earnings comes through Centrepay and ASIC and RMIT even found
that some of these companies are charging Centrelink recipients
more than their other customers. ASIC found that if customers
weren’t on Centrelink, they could end up paying
more than triple the retail cost on a two-year lease. But for Centrelink customers, they could end up paying
more than ten times the retail cost. Of course, if you
don’t have the money to pay up-front, that can be a real problem,
so what can you do? Well, there’s a good chance it’d be
cheaper to put it on a credit card and in fact, you may even be…
Hang on. Cut! Sorry, there seems to be
a mistake here. It says that sometimes a lease can work out to be worse
than a payday loan. No, that’s right.
What? You’re kidding?
No. Payday loans are regulated. There’s a limit
to how much they can charge. You still get ripped off,
but it’ll be less of a rip-off. That can’t be right.
Afraid so. RMIT found Centrelink recipients
were charged between two and five times as much
as your maximum payday loan. Sorry. I can’t argue with a graph.
Let’s keep going. So for Centrelink clients,
getting a consumer lease may actually be worse off
than getting a…payday loan. I feel sick.
Cut. A better option is to apply
to the No Interest Loan Scheme, which covers essential goods
like washing machines and fridges. Not hoverboards.
Damn it! Or if you’re on Centrelink, you can arrange an advance
on future payments, which you then pay back
with regular deductions, but without the fees and interest. If you’re still considering
a consumer lease though, maybe you should pause, rewind
and re-watch this segment or at the very least, compare the cost of the lease
to the cost of retail. ASIC have set up
a rent versus buy calculator to help you work it out easily. Because you shouldn’t
have to pay more just because you have less.
Thanks! Hey!
Whee! Hi. We hope you’re enjoying the show. If you aren’t,
don’t contact the ABC – just press this Complaints button
right here on your screen. Thanks! We’ll take that on board. (MUTTERS) Suckers. Here at The Checkout, our best
resource is you, the viewer. Checkout viewers not only send us
great FU Tube videos and examples of
Product vs Packshot… ..but we also use some of you
as furniture. Hi, Alex.
Hi, Alex. Shut up, desk. Now we want to make it even easier for you to get involved
in The Checkout by telling you
about some of the issues that we’re looking into
at the moment. So, if you’ve got any problems at all
with private health insurance, buying a new home off the plan, or weddings or tattoos
or anything else, for that matter, then drop us a line at: Or via Facebook or Twitter. Argh!
(THUD!) (GROANING) And if you want to be Craig’s
new desk, email us there too. (THEME MUSIC) (BEYOND 2000 THEME MUSIC) Hello, and welcome to another
edition of Beyond 2000. Later in the program, Kirsten will be looking
at the future of pants and asking, ‘What if we put lights on them?’ But first, let’s go shopping
with Alex. Now, Alex, I’ve got to say it doesn’t much look like
we’re in a shop. Ha! No, Ben, it doesn’t, but we are in a shop
on the World Wide Web. The World Wide Web!
That sounds like a shop for spiders. It does, but it isn’t. You can use a computer
to make purchases just like you’re in a shop,
but electric. Sounds confusing.
What happens if something goes wrong? When you shop online
from an Australian business, all of your usual consumer rights
still apply. Well, that is a relief! So, for instance, I’ve just ordered
a shiraz from an online business right here in Australia. A cyber-shiraz, perhaps! Just a regular shiraz,
and here it is! (ROBOTIC VOICE) Your delivery,
ma’am. Now, of course,
it isn’t really that fast. Well, not yet. And here we go. Look –
this isn’t what I ordered at all. I’d say this constitutes
a major problem. So under the Australian
Consumer Law, I’m entitled to a replacement
or a refund. It’s my choice. But certainly it doesn’t apply to
online purchases. I literally just said that it did.
Take this back. That will be $20 for Robo Postage. OK, I may have to pay the shipping
costs for returning goods upfront but if it’s a major failure, I’m entitled to recoup
any reasonable costs I incur while returning the purchases, so you have to pay me back. That’s not our returns policy. It doesn’t matter. Go. Of course, ma’am.
One thousand internet apologies. Now, you said “major failure”. What if it’s a minor failure, the kind we had last week with
Kirsten’s business rollerblades? The meeting of the future! If the problem is minor the seller can choose whether
to refund, repair or replace, and you may have to pay the cost
of postage. Gosh, well, I’m glad I’ve got until
the Year 2000 to work all this out. But let me ask you what about
if it’s an overseas business? It is, after all,
the World Wide Web. Perestroika! The Australian Consumer Law
could still apply. It’s a very grey area but asserting your consumer rights
can be difficult. And that goes for any
online purchase so the ACCC recommends you should
only buy online from a seller who has a good reputation, has clear processes for refunds,
repairs and dealing with problems and has a secure site
and payment system. There are other ways of purchasing
goods using an electric computer and for that, let’s go to Andy. Hey, Ben, have you ever been to
a garage sale? Ah, yes. That’s where I bought
my garage! Well, now garage sales
are inside your computer, where regular people
can buy and sell things on internet websites like
the Electronic Bay. Goodness, but what happens
if something goes wrong when you’re shopping
at the Electronic Bay? Well, if you’re buying from
a private seller, you know, an regular member
of the public like us… Ha, no, I’m a celebrity. ..then the Consumer Law
doesn’t apply. Well, that’s very interesting. Good luck, Andy. But if the trader on
the Electronic Bay is a business, even if it’s just a person
working out of their garage, then the Consumer Law does apply. Either way, if something goes wrong,
you can contact the seller and ask them to fix it. You might even want to use
electronic mail! Dear sir…
LOL. Get bent, chump. But there might be another way
of getting your money back. If you used a credit or debit card
to make your online purchase and it never arrived,
wasn’t as described or was damaged then you may be eligible
for something called a ‘chargeback’. Well, that certainly sounds like
a thing! It is! But chargebacks work differently
for different cards, so make sure you check
your card’s rules for eligibility, how to make a claim,
and time limits. Don’t wait too long
to make your complaint! And you won’t have to wait long
to see the future of toasting! Coming up. Extraordinary stuff. It’s also extraordinary that
when you use PayPal to buy online, the PayPal Buyer Protection Policy
covers things like: being charged for purchases
you never made, an order that doesn’t arrive or an order that’s significantly
different to what’s described. So that might be an easier way
of getting a refund too. Well, I think we’re all ready
for the future now. Especially me! Of course, if there’s nothing wrong
with your online purchase but you just don’t like it because, say, the clothes
you ordered aren’t so great, there is a chance you could still
return them. Check the retailer’s returns policy, especially what it says about
eligibility and shipping costs. With online shopping, consumers
have a world of opportunity to look forward to. A World Wide Web of them. But you can prevent
tomorrow’s problems today by taking simple precautions. Ask yourself, “If I buy online
from this seller how difficult would it be
to deal with a problem?” Because even beyond 2000,things can still
go wrong. Malfunction. Malfunction. Destroy mode. (ALL SCREAM) What do we do before we eat lunch? (BOTH SING) # This is the way
we wash our hands # Wash our hands, wash our hands
This is the way we… # (SIREN WAILS) (SCREAMS)
Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner. It’s untouchable!
(SIZZLING) Hi there, and welcome back to our
consumer complaints segment, FU Tube. Yep, back for a fourth year! That’s a real testament to how ineffective
our first three years were. And our first FU-Tuber for this year
is David. Hey, Checkout! Love the show.
Thanks, David. But my wife hates it! (LAUGHS) And they say the ABC’s not balanced. Anyway, David noticed some changes in the freezer
that he bought a few years back. I’m worried that
it’s confused about its identity. All this beeping.
I think he thinks he’s a microwave. Well, look, David. Maybe
your freezer’s just transitioning and it’s important to be supportive
at what can be a challenging time. Or maybe it’s just a shit freezer. Anyway, David contacted the store
where he got the freezer and said…
JINGLE: Hey Harvey Norman! ..but they said, he should… Go! ..away and contact the manufacturer,
Miele, about the problem. When David queried that, they even claimed Harvey Norman was
not really the seller of the freezer. I don’t think that’s correct, is it?
You’re right, David. Denying the store is the seller?
Sounds like Harvey Norman made… A complete Miele! Yes, Miele!
..of it. The store where you buy goods
is responsible for defects as well as manufacturers, even though the rules are a little
different for purchases like yours, from the BC era – that’s before the consumer law
started in January 2011. Sometimes it can be more efficient
to go direct to the manufacturer, but stores shouldn’t refuse
to deal with a problem by palming you off to them. In the Consumer Law era,
it’s illegal to mislead someone about the consumer guarantees
and your statutory rights. But you need
to be aware of your rights, like David was,
’cause staff in stores may not be. Indeed, a Federal Court order
in January this year was the tenth time that a Harvey Norman franchisee
has been fined for making misleading statements
about consumer guarantees. Things like: WOMAN: You’ve won me, Harvey! Which is nearly enough
for their own series of Law & Order. So it’s a real problem. In fact, you could say…
VOICEOVER: It’s Harvey-normous! Of course, the problem’s
not just with Harvey Norman, it’s not always intentional, and those fines do date back
to incidents in 2012 or before, but David’s recent experience
shows that it can still happen. So there you go, David. I hope
you’re happy with that response. Yep, I am.
But my wife hates it! (LAUGHS) Still, at the moment,
it’s probably better having a… Harvey-normous!
..problem than being… Dick Smith!
..ed around. All 393 Dick Smith stores
are closing forever soon. So this is one of those times when contacting the manufacturer
about product defects may be a better option. But the Dick Smith receivers
have set up a consumer hotline which you can call
to answer questions about things like faulty products
or extended warranties. The hotline will operate for a year
after stores close, and you can find it by googling
“Dick hotline”. I hope. The receivers have said that refunds
will be given under the Consumer Law. But for anyone who got a Dick Smith
gift card for Christmas, it really was the thought
that counted, because on 4 January, Dick Smith
stopped accepting gift cards. So you can understand the anger
of mums like Cathie and Bernadette, not to mention their sons. Losing credit when a store goes bust is just one of the pitfalls
of gift cards for consumers. You can see our full story
on this issue at or on iview now. Even though you buy a physical card
in the store, gift cards aren’t goods. They’re classified
as financial services and unfortunately, the consumer law
guarantees don’t apply to them. That’s especially bad news for people
with unusually valuable gift cards. People like Ebony. My sister for Christmas decided
to buy me a new Samsung phone. I returned the phone to Dick Smith. Dick Smith then said that because
it was a change-of-mind policy that I would have to accept
gift cards. So I’ve got $769 worth
of Dick Smith gift vouchers. And she got the cards just three days before
Dick Smith went into receivership. Poor Ebony. Literally. Is there anything I can do? Well, Ebony,
Dick Smith gift card holders can register as unsecured creditors and MoneySmart says
that will result in you getting: “..a full refund, a partial refund
or no refund at all.” Which is either fully,
partially or not-at-all good news. But you might remember earlier on – before the year 2000 actually –
we mentioned: Something called a ‘chargeback’. If a credit card was used
for the purchase, you might be able to get your
money back from the card provider. It should still be possible to claim a Visa chargeback
for Dick Smith gift cards until early May 2016. Even longer for Mastercard. Did your sister
use a credit card, Ebony? No, it was a debit card. Bugger! Chargebacks
aren’t available for debit cards. And it was OK for Dick Smith
to offer Ebony gift cards instead of a refund
for her ‘change of mind’. But… If you get a refund
under the consumer law – that’s when there’s a problem
with goods or services – your refund has to match the way
you originally paid. So unless you paid with a gift card: To avoid being Dick Smith-ed around. And that goes for minor failures
as well as major ones. If you bought a Dick Smith gift card
from another retailer, like Coles or Woolies, some will swap them
for their own brand of gift card. Although, as Winnie discovered,
conditions apply. But cheer up, Winnie. Kogan will swap any Dick Smith
gift card for a $25 Kogan card. So thanks to Kogan, your $3,600 in Dick Smith gift cards
can still buy you a happy crying face pillow or a pig head
or an angry baby mask or a cry baby or a horror head. Goodnight! Captions by Ericsson Access Services

17 comments on “The Checkout – Season 4 Episode 1”

  1. The Chaser Archive says:

    Thanks for the trigger warning ABC! This video offended me so much that I've posted it on YouTube. #ProtectMyFeels

  2. comrade Sevchenko says:

    oh God has the ABC been taken over by SJW cucks

  3. Fraser Langton says:

    Thanks for the better quality!!!

  4. Paranoid Android says:

    What's the date on this episode how old is it?

  5. dreadrath says:

    Oh shit, social justice has staged a hostile takeover of ABC. Good lord I am so offended by how offended SJWs get about absolutely every little inoffensive thing.

  6. Black Vulpine says:

    I didn't know Australian customers of Steam were covered by the ACL. I guess that's a recent thing. But I do feel that their refund policy is still very consumer friendly however. When I submitted just one well-written complaint about a recent purchase I made, I got an email a few hours later saying they were reviewing the complaint, and another email only a few hours after that one saying they approved my refund request. But I do believe that it helps to be a good sport when you make your complaint. Drop the emotion, just simply state your case, stick to the facts, and don't get aggressive or profane.

  7. Can0spam says:

    Oh sweet, this show is back! Iview hasn't been working for me so I gave up on it. Glad too see some of the content is here. =D

  8. Weirduncle Bob V says:

    So glad The Checkout's back on! Here's hoping for many more seasons. 🙂

  9. The DownUnder Gamer says:

    Anyone else see where the complaints button would take them?

  10. tallaussiebloke says:

    Bloody hell CHASER…now I really hate Beyond Tomorrow for being a useless flop of a BEYOND 2000 follow up.

  11. Gnuthad says:

    Re: F.U. Tube. I was of the understanding that Miele appliances were sold by consignment and therefore the actual place of purchase is nothing more than a showroom and collection point while Miele is the actual seller. This is why nobody can offer a discount on Miele appliances; they are not actually selling the product to be able to offer any discount.

  12. BrisBoom says:

    Never ever ever ever ever shop at Harvey Norman!

  13. JayRay00 says:

    I can't believe that it's legal to void gift cards after receivership. As long as the doors are still open and they're selling stuff, they should have to accept gift cards.Change the law please.

  14. STOP IT DAD says:

    i'm from america, and i've been binging this show for days. i don't even know why

  15. Ariane Szmajda says:

    I love this show so freaking much

  16. Skulls Ain't Dead says:

    Actually, you know what, if I were a hotel/inn, I wouldn't want an about-to-give-birth-in-minutes woman staying at my place either. Imagine the mess, the noise, it'd be a real disruption. Just sayin' Mary…

  17. LoneKharnivore says:

    Frankincense and myrrh were actually equally or more valuable pound-for-pound than gold at the time.

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