Consumer Action’s 2013/2014 Annual Report

Consumer Action’s 2013/2014 Annual Report  and Financial Report now available and features information about our: Legal practice; policy team; MoneyHelp financial counselling service; Volunteer p...

October 2014

Power companies given ‘green light’ to bait and switch, consumer advocates say news.com.au, 24 October 2014, Frank Chung Retailers forced to be upfront about rising electricity prices Canberra Ti...

September 2014

Dangerous waterslide and parking fees add to woes at Frankston’s Peninsula Aquatic and Recreation Centre Frankston Standard Leader, 29 September 2014, Christian Tatman Queensland Government-owned...

Money Smart Week 2014: Time for a money health check

  If you could earn yourself $20,000 for an hour or two of work, I’m guessing you’d think that’s a pretty good deal; and you’d be right. But when that same equation is presented with a pay-day...

August 2014

CBA emails “conditionally approved” personal loans up to $30K News.com.au, 22 August 2014, John Rolf Avoiding a new era of retail electricity rip-offs Climate Spectator, 13 August 2014, Tristan E...

July 2014

All power to the energy companies when it comes to adjusting prices The Age, 31 July 2014, Brian Robins Vulnerable in a cry for help Herald Sun, 30 July 2014, Editorial Cold-hearted power comp...

Private car parking fines

Key points: Private car parks cannot ‘fine’ consumers Carefully consider your options if you get a demand for payment from a private car park As of 26 August 2015, there are restrictions on...

Are Private Car Parks “Fines” Legitimate?

One of the most common questions asked of our legal practice is about the legitimacy of private car park payment notices and how to challenge them. A number of car parks are operated by private compa...

Submission: Insurance Duty of Disclosure

Consumer Action has provided comments on the Commonwealth Treasury's proposed notices which explain the duty of disclosure consumers have when buying insurance. We broadly support these regulations, b...

National Consumer Fraud Week 16 – 22 June

Have you ever wondered if someone is the real deal? These days, scammers are highly skilled at building deceptive relationships, using all sorts of tricks to convince you to trust them and part with y...

June 2014

Protection fund needed to win consumers’ trust Australian Financial Review, 5 June 2014, Gerard Brody...

May 2014

Regulators overlooking the power of simplicity Australian Financial Review, 30 May 2014, Gerard Brody Consumers told to check tap-and-go transactions as deception cases increase The Age, 28 May 2...

Think twice before using a credit repair company

Our legal and financial counselling services have heard from a number of Victorians concerned about the behaviour of several credit repair companies. These companies may claim to be able to improve yo...

April 2014

Over the odds when power is bestowed on select few The Age, 12 April 2014, Brian Robins Energy Australia fined $1m in Federal Court over door-to-door sales practices ABC News, 9 April 2014, Amy Bainb...

March 2014

Optus warned over $8.8 million billing error Sydney Morning Herald, 27 March 2014, Paddy Wood Consumer groups lobby politicians over proposed changes to Future of Financial Advice reforms ABC New...

Credit reporting – correcting mistakes

Key message You have a right to have inaccurate information on your credit report corrected free of charge Significant changes to the information that can be contained on your credit report oc...

Federal Court finds ANZ late fees were penalty charges

The Federal Court has ruled that ANZ’s credit card late fees were penalty charges rather than a cost recovery measure.  This is significant because, while businesses can recover the costs of late paym...

Submission: Energy White Paper 2014

Consumer Action was pleased to have the opportunity to comment on the Energy White Paper 2014. Our submission is available here....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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

VCOSS concerned over 'discriminatory' new Victorian energy concessions ABC Online, 11 October 2013 AGL facing $50k fine for ignoring a Do Not Knock sign Herald Sun, 11 October 2013 AGL faces $...

Direct Share Purchasing Corporation – defence kit

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 consumers will see these types of cases...

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....

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...