Internship company Borch Leeman has agreed to pay $2,500 to a disgruntled customer who claimed it had, amongst other things, imposed unfair contract terms and breached consumer guarantees in contravention of the Australian Consumer Law. While Borch Leeman disputed the customer’s claim, the matter was settled and a consent order was made by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). This is a good example both of what consumers can achieve with a little determination, and of the outcomes community legal centres can help Australians achieve.
‘People don’t spend thousands of dollars lightly, and when they feel they’ve not got value for that money they want to pursue the matter. Sadly, many people don’t quite know how to go about it. We’re pleased our client picked up the phone and gave Consumer Action a call because together we have been able to secure a good result,’ said Gerard Brody, Director of Policy and Campaigns at Consumer Action.
‘The legal system can be daunting, but free independent legal advice is available from community centres right across Australia.
‘Our client claimed a number of potential breaches of the Australian Consumer Law and, with a little persistence, he was able to get a refund of most of the money he paid. The Australian Consumer Law provides important protections for consumers, including protection from unfair contract terms as well as consumer guarantees, which provide consumers the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund if goods or services they buy have problems.’
Mr Brody said VCAT offered Victorians a chance to pursue their case against a trader. ‘The system is designed so consumers can represent themselves in most small cases, so you don’t have to pay for expensive legal representation. It’s a good forum to assert your consumer rights, but consumers can benefit from some preliminary advice.’ Victorian consumers can call Consumer Action Law Centre on 1800 466 477.
Note: The case between our client and Borch Leeman was finalised by a consent order from VCAT, therefore the sitting VCAT Member did not rule on our client’s allegations. Our client claimed $3,027.00. Borsch Leeman disputed our client’s claims.