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BuyersVoice [SMART 100, 2015]

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This SMART 100 profile and the information it contains is a duplication of content submitted by the applicant during the entry process. As a function of entry, applicants were required to declare that all details are factually correct, do not infringe on another’s intellectual property and are not unlawful, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, obscene, or otherwise objectionable. Some profiles have been edited for reasons of space and clarity.

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1. THE BEGINNING

This innovation initially came to life when…

When it is difficult for a lawyer (me) to get consumer problems resolved, how difficult must it be for the average person? I therefore set out to design a practical, commercial way to make it easy for people to get their consumer complaints resolved and/or to alert other people to dud products and businesses. I was also aware that many businesses purposely make it hard for people who have a genuine complaint so they will give up. It is also very difficult for people to take the problem to a consumer claims tribunal.

2. WHAT & HOW

The purpose of this innovation is to…

Research shows there are about 35 million problems with consumer products or services each year in Australia which are not resolved satisfactorily. We help these people get their problems resolved and alert the public to the problems.

It does this by…

The website makes it really easy for people to submit a complaint (using a multiple-choice format). We, or our lawyers, then notify the business that we will be publicising the problem unless it is resolved. The government consumer protection departments don’t name and shame (except in a few situations). We do. No charge.

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3. PURPOSE & BENEFITS

This innovation improves on what came before because…

There is no other website in Australia which actively helps people resolve complaints. It is needed because of the difficulty that consumers have in getting problems resolved if the business does not do the right thing. Only 1% of complaints are dealt with by social media. It improves on review websites because of our means of identifying fake reviews/complaints.

Its various benefits to the customer/end-user include…

Free of charge; easy-to-use; a means to resolve complaints and alert other consumers to poor products and services; minimisation of fake reviews.

4. COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

In the past, this problem was solved by…

…taking a complaint to a consumer claims tribunal or ombudsman — time-consuming, incurs costs and is often a harrowing experience for consumers. Taking a consumer complaint to a solicitor is prohibitively expensive. Only a tiny percentage of complaints made on social media are resolved that way — it is estimated to be as low as 1%.

Its predecessors/competitors include…

…consumer claims tribunals; online forums such as Whirlpool; social media; product review sites such as ProductReview.com.au; yelp.com but no complaint resolution website.

5. TARGET MARKET

It is made for…

Anyone who has had a problem with a consumer product or service/business which has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the consumer or which the consumer wants to tell the public about. Approximately 13.5 million people in Australia had a problem with a product or service in the 2 years before the Australian Consumer Survey 2011 and most of those people had multiple problems. It appears that less than half the problems are satisfactorily resolved. Some estimates suggest that it may be as little as 4%.

It is available for sale through…

www.BuyersVoice.com.au.

Our marketing strategy is to…

…use public relations and social media to publicise the benefits for people who have complaints or who want to write a review of a good product or service. When we get to a critical mass of complaints and reviews, we will educate consumers about the benefits of checking BuyersVoice for the reputation of a product or business before committing.

FINE PRINT: This SMART 100 profile and the information it contains is a duplication of content submitted by the applicant during the entry process. As a function of entry, applicants were required to declare that all details are factually correct, do not infringe on another’s intellectual property and are not unlawful, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, obscene, or otherwise objectionable. Some profiles have been edited for reasons of space and clarity.

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