A Victorian woman living with a disability has brought proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court regarding five consumer lease contracts from Darranda Pty Ltd, trading as Rent4Keeps, and Mobberley Enterprises Pty Ltd, previously trading as Rent4Keeps Tullamarine.
The woman, who relies on the Disability Support Pension for income, alleges that she was offered the leases in circumstances in which:
- each of the leases were unsuitable because they caused her financial hardship;
- reasonable steps were not taken to enquire and verify her financial situation before the leases were entered into;
- the leases gave her no right to own the leased items, when her purpose was to own them; and
- she was required to make payments through Centrepay, which contributed to her financial hardship as her lease payments were prioritised over her living expenses.
The woman alleges that as a result of making repayments under the leases, she struggled to pay for bills, food and other family living expenses and had little or no money for recreational activities.
Darranda Pty Ltd trading as Rent4Keeps and Mobberley Enterprises Pty Ltd are both defending the proceeding.
‘We are concerned that unaffordable consumer leases are causing too many people to suffer substantial financial hardship. Despite clever marketing and companies emphasising low weekly payments, consumer leases end up costing far more than the price of the goods,” says Gerard Brody, Chief Executive Officer at Consumer Action Law Centre.
‘We are also concerned about the role of the Department of Human Services (DHS) in facilitating payments to consumer lease companies via Centrepay. We consider that the use of Centrepay exposes people to financial stress and that consumer lease providers should not have priority access to someone’s Centrelink payment.”
Since November 2017, Consumer Action has made multiple complaints to DHS about systemic misconduct of consumer lease companies exploiting people through the DHS Centrepay system. In July 2019 a complaint was lodged with the Commonwealth Ombudsman alleging that the DHS has failed to properly respond to these complaints.
Consumer Action is not able to comment further on these proceedings at this time. This client is not available for comment.
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