Qantas to refund customers up to $450


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Grocery prices fall under pressure from senate report, Qantas to refund customers up to $450, and tax man reveals 2024 hit list. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Bin diving and shoplifting - the hidden impact of high grocery prices

The Senate Select Committee on supermarket pricing has wrapped up, and not surprisingly, the big supermarkets haven't emerged smelling of roses.

qantas to refund customers up to $450

The fragrance is more dumpster du jour.

The inquiry confirmed what most shoppers know - that in the midst of a cost of living crisis, Coles and Woolworths have racked up record profits.

However, in a shock finding, the Committee's report notes that high grocery prices are driving battlers to 'dumpster-diving', or shoplifting to meet basic needs.

The Senate Committee has made 14 recommendations, including that price gouging - charging excessive prices - be outlawed.

The report also proposes giving the government power to break up supermarkets that abuse their market power, but Labor senators have made it clear they don't support this.

Nonetheless, the mounting scrutiny is taking effect.

Coles says it has dropped the price of more than 300 products.

Woolworths claims to have cut prices on more than 400 essentials, with an average price drop of 18%.

Qantas to refund customers up to $450

Customers caught up in the Qantas cancelled flight fiasco of 2021/22 may be entitled to a $450 refund.

Last August saw the ACCC launch action against Qantas for allegedly selling over 8,000 tickets for flights that had already been cancelled between May 2021 and July 2022.

This week the airline agreed to pay $20 million to affected customers plus a $100 million court penalty.

Qantas says impacted customers will receive payments of $225 for domestic flights and $450 for international flights.

This is on top of any refund or alternative flights that affected customers have already received.

Qantas will notify impacted customers via email from next month with details on how to lodge a claim.

Rosie Thomas of consumer group CHOICE, says the proposed settlement sends a clear message to all airlines that misleading consumers about cancellations doesn't fly.

"Over 80,000 consumers have had their travel plans derailed by Qantas' behaviour over a number of years and these payments are already well overdue," adds Thomas.

ATO reveals 2024 hit list

With just weeks to go before June 30, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has revealed which claims will be on the radar this tax time.

Three areas will receive extra scrutiny:

  • Work-related expenses including working from home deductions
  • Inflated claims for rental properties, and
  • Failing to include all income.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Rob Thomson says, "These are the areas people are most likely to get wrong, and while these mistakes are often genuine, sometimes they are deliberate."

The ATO is also warning against rushing to lodge tax returns on July 1.

If you have received income from multiple sources, you need to wait until this is pre-filled in your tax return before lodging.

"By lodging in early July, you are doubling your chances of having your tax return flagged as incorrect by the ATO," warns Thomson.

One in two suburbs hit record high prices despite rate hikes

The highest interest rates in over a decade haven't stopped home values reaching searing new highs.

CoreLogic says one in two suburbs across the nation's capital cities are now seeing their highest ever home values.

In Perth, 97% of suburbs have reached highs, beating out Adelaide at 90.0% and Brisbane 85.1%.

Armadale, in Perth's south-east, tops the price growth list, with values skyrocketing 60.0% since April 2022.

The price gains haven't been shared equally.

One in three (37.9%) suburbs nationally have seen a fall in property values, with Hobart, Melbourne and Canberra being hardest hit.

CoreLogic's Tim Lawless said these markets have felt a greater pinch from rising interest rates due to a better supply/demand balance.

The rise in property prices comes as Housing Australia confirms 156,000 Australians, chiefly first home buyers, have taken advantage of the low deposit Housing Guarantee Scheme (HGS) over the past four years.

The HGS gives buyers an opportunity to buy or build with just 5% deposit and zero lenders mortgage insurance.

Planning to spoil mum this Mother's Day?

ANZ is urging shoppers to watch out for online shopping scams.

The bank says online crooks prey on our generosity around special events such as Mother's Day, through fake links to legitimate-appearing websites, travel and holiday deals and marketplace listings on social media.

ANZ Senior Manager, Customer Protection, Jess Bottega, says, "Be aware of any brand advertising unusually low prices, and always conduct an independent search for retailers' websites to ensure legitimacy."

Take care clicking links on social media as they may direct you to a fake site to mine personal information.

According to ScamWatch, online shopping scams claimed more than $650,000 from Australians in the first two months of 2024.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.