February 2014

Spruikers exploit the vulnerable Lateline, 24 February 2014, Amy Bainbridge Consumer law lobby group says AGL bid to hike bills The Australian, 21 February 2014, Amanda Saunders News Corporation hop...
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Submission: 2014-15 Federal Budget

Consumer Action welcomes the Government’s invitation to the Australian community to provide input to the 2014-15 Commonwealth Budget. We are mindful of the current economic conditions and their imp...

Help available for back to school costs

Consumer Action Law Centre’s financial counselling service MoneyHelp is preparing for calls from parents struggling to cope with back to schools costs. With many families still dealing with the financ...

Media release: End energy retailers’ free ride

New proposal to fix energy prices for length of contract Energy retailers would be banned from increasing a customer’s tariff mid contract under a proposal to be considered by the Australian Energy Ma...

January 2014

Qantas and Virgin skirting the law with unsolicited card mailouts Sydney Morning Herald, 30 January 2014, Nathan Lynch Push to ban energy price increases during fixed-term contracts Herald Sun, 2...
overdue bills

Submission: ACCC / ASIC Debt Collection Guideline

Consumer Action has provided comment on the review of the ACCC / ASIC Debt Collection Guideline for Collectors and Creditors. The revised draft Guideline is a significant improvement on the existing...

December 2013

Privacy concerns over new credit card reporting rules ABC Online, 26 December 2013, Alison Caldwell Planned financial advice changes 'a step backwards', say consumer groups The World Today, 20 Decemb...

A cautionary tale about debt consolidation

Many people refinance or consolidate debts in an attempt to make their loan repayments more affordable in the short term. However, the overall cost of a new loan should be significantly lower than...

November 2013

Concern finance inquiry will throw good regulation out with bad The World Today, 21 November 2013, Michael Janda Consumer groups worried David Murray's banking inquiry will focus too heavily on regul...
scales of justice

Submission: Access to Justice Arrangements

Consumer Action has provided a submission to the Productivity Commission on its Issues Paper, Access to Justice Arrangements. The key points and recommendations made in this submission are: The inq...

Plan ahead to avoid the New Year credit crunch

In the months after Christmas our financial counsellors hear from hundreds of Victorians struggling with Christmas debt. Their credit card bills have arrived and the cost of presents and festivities,...

October 2013

AGL found to have breached consumer law Skye News, 11 October 2013 VCOSS concerned over 'discriminatory' new Victorian energy concessions ABC Online, 11 October 2013 AGL facing $50k fine for i...

Direct Share Purchasing Corporation – defence kit

[box type="note" icon="none"] This self help kit was written at a time when Direct Share Purchasing Corporation had sued a number of consumers.  Changes to the law have made it unlikely that consumer...
Policy Trilemma logo

A Policy Trilemma – workshop

Consumer Action held a workshop in June 2013 to further the discussion of key energy issues for consumers identified in its report, A Policy Trilemma. The workshop convened a number of participants an...

September 2013

Millions of Australians at risk of defaulting on their debts ABC News’ PM, 30 September 2013, Mandie Sami Payday D-day as Money3 buys rival Cash Store The Australian, 30 September 2013, Tim Boreham...

Fixed means fixed

Victorian energy retailers are able to vary their customers’ electricity tariff provided retailers give customers correct notification. This is even the case with a fixed term electricity contract, i....
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Consumer InterAction – Issue 4 of 2013

The fourth edition of Consumer InterAction for 2013 is now online. In this edition: Default judgments in the spotlight; Simply and Red Energy lag behind; Funeral insurance marketing exposed; Debt col...

Profiting from Poverty—making a buck from bad luck

Low-income debtors often get the worst deal when it comes to dealing with debt—inaccessible or weak hardship assistance, particularly for those in long-term hardship; misleading or severe debt collect...

Power for People—essential service vs market commodity

Energy bills form a disproportionately high slice of the outgoings of low income and vulnerable consumers. Those who are experiencing financial hardship on multiple fronts are likely to find their out...

Slippery slopes and dodgy dealings—consumer leases

Financial inclusion is not only about access to financial services, but protection from exploitative products that are inappropriate to consumers’ needs. Consumer leases, or ‘rent to own’ deals as the...

August 2013

Power grab by utilities over debts Herald Sun, 30 August 2013, Karen Collier Consumer groups demand action on funeral cover Insurance News, 26 August 2013 Consumers urged to mute funeral insurance a...

Debt collection lawyer breached professional conduct rules

Consumer Action has welcomed the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s ruling that debt collection lawyer, Ms Pippa Sampson, of law firm Goddard Elliot, breached professional conduct rules whe...

July 2013

A consumer group is calling for action over what it calls 'procedural failings' in Magistrates courts across Victoria ABC News, 21 July 2013, Amy Bainbridge ASIC intervention guidelines welcomed Insu...

Will consolidating my debts help?

[box type="note" icon="none"] Key message Get advice about all your options before: taking out a new loan to pay all your existing loans taking out a loan to consolidate your debt For free, ind...

How do I get more information about my loan?

Key points: If you are a borrower, mortgagor, or guarantor, under most consumer credit contracts the creditor is obliged by law to give you: your credit contract, mortgage, or guarantee; acco...

Cancelling a direct debit on a statement account

Key Message: You can cancel a direct debit from your bank account (not a credit card); Get advice about the consequences of not paying a debt before you stop payments. What is a direct debi...

Bank Fees Refund Scam

Use this Fact Sheet if: You have received an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be from Consumer Action or a similar organisation; AND They claimed that the bank has overcharged y...