As part of Consumer Action’s NDIS project, we prioritise data collection and analysis for clients calling our advice lines with NDIS related matters. Concerningly, our casework reveals that NDIS participants often receive goods and services through their NDIS funding that breach Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and do not meet their needs.
NDIS participants may also experience poor outcomes and harms due to service providers’ use of unfair contract terms and action by external debt collectors. Without better safeguards, these problems can leave NDIS participants with insurmountable debt, unnecessary stress and anxiety, impaired credit reports, impacts to their health and mobility due to unsuitable products, and even the risk of bankruptcy and loss of their home.
We are also concerned about the impact on First Nations communities given the overrepresentation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples amongst our clients with NDIS related issues.
There are several opportunities for reform that would address these problems and work to minimise the harm to NDIS participants as consumers:
1. Introduction of a standard form NDIS service agreement to prevent service providers using unfair terms or requirements, such as punitive cancellation penalties
2. Requiring registered providers to report on their use of external debt collectors and legal action on NDIS related personal debt following ‘overspends’
3. Targeted monitoring of providers to establish whether they are complying with ACL and charging no more than allowed through NDIS plans
4. Making the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission available for resolving consumer disputes relating to NDIS service providers, including where legal action has been initiated.
Read the full submission PDF.230622 Submission NDIS Review Consumer Action Law Centre