Services Australia: Centrepay Reform Discussion Paper

This submission to Services Australia is prepared by the Consumer Action Law Centre based on our casework experience.

The primary issues we identify in our client files for Centrepay customers are:

• Too many businesses are deducting money leaving the Centrelink recipient with very little to pay for essential living expenses like food and transport.
• Lack of customer awareness over the deductions being take out. The reasons are multifaceted but include:

o the lack of requirements on businesses to provide information about deductions through the Centrepay system,
o the system design for managing Centrepay deductions,
o the inherent ‘set and forget’ nature of Centrepay, and
o Inadequate assistance to manage deductions for digitally excluded Centrepay customers.

• Centrepay businesses denying Centrelink customers their consumer rights to financial hardship assistance, a repair or a refund.

Exploitative Centrepay business practices, such as overcharging by businesses for deductions that should have ceased, or at inflated prices for retail goods purchased via consumer leases.

Read the full submission here (PDF).

FINAL-Centrepay-CALC 1
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