Have you purchased something that isn't working the way it should? Are you having difficulties juggling bills and paying debts? KCLS might be able to help.
What is consumer law?
Every day people buy products and services - sometimes it's in a shop, other times it can be online and sometimes you might even have someone knocking on your door with special offers.
Unfortunately, not all purchases turn out the way you want them to and this can cause problems and mean that you pay more money as time goes on.
When you buy products and services, you have rights as a consumer. Your rights are called 'consumer guarantees' and mean that you can expect to get what you paid for and that the item will do what you expected. If it doesn't, you can:
- Seek a repair, replacement or refund;
- Cancel a service; or
- Seek compensation for damage and loss.
Consumer guarantees cover products and services costing less than $40,000. Products or services costing more than $40,000 will be covered if they have been bought for personal or household use.
How can KCLS help?
If you're having problems with products or services that you've purchased, or items that you've hired, KCLS might be able help.
Case study: AMARI
Amari bought a new washing machine for $700 from AAA Household Appliances. At first, the machine worked very well, but after one week, it started leaving black marks on all of his clothes. Amari was very upset because he'd had the machine on lay-by for six months and it was a very expensive purchase for his household.
KCLS can help Amari to speak to AAA Household Appliances and work out if he is entitled to a repair, replacement or a refund for the washing machine.
What is credit law?
When you enter into a contract for a loan or a credit card or when you hire items such as furniture and pay as you go, the business must make sure that they're not providing you with credit that's unsuitable.
In some instances, this means that if you're already having difficulty paying bills and juggling debts, a credit provider must act responsibly and must not create further hardship for you.
When dealing with businesses providing credit, they must:
- hold a licence to engage in credit activities; and
- make reasonable enquiries about your financial situation, requirements and objectives, and take reasonable steps to verify your financial situation to ensure the product is not unsuitable.
How can KCLS help?
If you find yourself unable to meet the payments on your loan or credit card, you may be able to request a hardship variation. KCLS may also be able to assist you by investigating what other rights you may have under the contract.
Case Study: Linh
Linh's sister Hoa asked for help to buy a car. Linh agreed to act as a 'guarantor' for Hoa on the car loan from Super Flash Cars. Eleven months later, Linh was asked by Super Flash Cars to start making repayments for the loan and she discovered that the entire loan was in her name and she was not merely a guarantor.
KCLS can help Linh to work out if Super Flash Cars has a licence and the rights she has under the loan agreement.
What is financial counselling?
- We offer financial counselling if you are worrying about money;
- We cannot give people money to pay their bills;
- We can work with people who want to try and get on top of their bills.
How can KCLS help?
- Complete a budget with you;
- Contact other services and agencies to confirm your bills and debts;
- Call Horizon Power if you are struggling to pay your power bill, and you want Horizon Power to approve you for a government payment towards your bill: the Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme (HUGS);
- Apply for some of your debts to be forgiven because of your hardship; and
- Deal with debt collectors.
Case Study: Carlos
Carlos was badly hurt in a car accident a year ago. He has a big debt to St John Ambulance which he can't afford to pay. Carlos' only income is the Disability Support Pension from Centrelink. He has mental illness and cannot work. He has been on the Disability Support Pension for many years.
Carlos can come to KCLS for help. KCLS can help Carlos negotiate with St John Ambulance to waive part of his bill. KCLS can also help Carlos set up a membership with St John Ambulance so he has ambulance cover for the future.
Want our help?
Call us for free on 1800 686 020. You can get more information on how to contact KCLS here:
You can contact KCLS by phone to arrange to talk to our staff when they visit your community. KCLS is happy to be invited to talk with groups and at meetings.