Vulnerable Consumers

A gold statue of lady justice, a woman holding a sword and scales, in front of a blue background A gold statue of lady justice, a woman holding a sword and scales, in front of a blue background

Today the Government passed the first omnibus bill in the wake of the Banking Royal Commission, which consumer advocates say will help address long-standing problems with unfair insurance contracts, funeral expenses policies and mortgage broking.  The Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response—Protecting Consumers (2019 Measures) Act 2019 will address recommendations 4.7, 1.2 and 4.2…

Read More Consumer advocates welcome Act implementing three key Banking Royal Commission recommendations

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Consumer Action Law Centre (Consumer Action) and Financial Rights Legal Centre (Financial Rights) say ASIC’s overhaul of its responsible lending guidance is a welcome announcement in the wake of the devastating consumer harm exposed during the Banking Royal Commission.  Too many lenders, including banks, finance companies, payday lenders, and consumer lease providers have not effectively complied with legal obligations to ensure they do not provide borrowers with unsuitable loans. ASIC’s updated responsible lending guidance make existing laws clearer, easier to enforce and will help to hold…

Read More ASIC’s overhaul of responsible lending guidance should focus lenders on the welfare of borrowers

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Financial Counselling Australia welcomes the implementation of a ban on unsolicited telephone sales of life insurance and consumer credit insurance sold without personal advice.  ASIC announced that the ban will come into effect on January 13, 2020. In the experience of financial counsellors, who work with people in financial hardship, unsolicited telephone selling targets vulnerable consumers. The…

Read More Financial Counselling Australia welcomes ban on unsolicited telephone selling

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In her address, Delia Rickard noted that issues raised by consumer organisations with the ACCC commonly form part of its priorities for compliance and enforcement. Delia noted that consumer groups have recently raised issues such as funeral services, debt collection, product safety and sustainability which will be considered for future priorities. Other trends and issues identified by…

Read More ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard provides address to CFA’s annual general meeting

A calculator and page with calculations on it A calculator and page with calculations on it

South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) today launched its report, Working to Make Ends Meet: Low-income Workers and Energy Bill Stress. The report investigates households whose main source of income is wages but who are still living below the “poverty line”. This report, based on national statistical data and South Australian case studies, is…

Read More SACOSS’ Working to Make Ends Meet Report highlights energy affordability struggles for “waged poor” households

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The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) has acted on a request from the Hon Angus Taylor MP, Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, to limit conditional discounts on energy deals. The draft rule comes with a recommended penalty of up to $100,000 for retailers who fail to comply. Under our proposal consumers would no longer pay unreasonable…

Read More Limiting conditional discounts on energy offers: have your say

A series of books titles 'law cases' on a shelf A series of books titles 'law cases' on a shelf

The Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner (VLSB+C) seeks expressions of interest to serve on its new Consumer Advisory Committee. The VLSB+C has formed the view that it needs a deeper understanding of the needs and concerns of consumers and potential consumers of legal services. To meet this objective, the VLSB+C is establishing a Consumer…

Read More Represent consumers at Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner

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Eleven telcos have been hit with formal warnings by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for failing to tell potential new customers that they do not provide Priority Assistance (PA) services, or failing to name a telco that does.  The eleven telcos are Activ8me, Aussie Broadband, Dodo, Exetel, Foxtel, MyRepublic, Skymesh, Southern Phone, Spintel, TPG, and V4 Telecom.…

Read More Telcos warned for not helping vulnerable consumers

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Financial institutions who subscribe to a Code of Practice have obligations to consumers experiencing financial difficulty. The independent committees who monitor the Codes urge consumers to also be aware of these obligations. In 2018, financial difficulty was a particular focus of the committees, especially in the banking sphere where an inquiry found that customer requests…

Read More Codes of Practice and financial difficulty