Community and public sector caseworkers and lawyers can call Consumer Action for specialist legal advice on handling consumer matters on our Worker Advice Line. This service is available Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm:
Worker Advice Line (03) 9602 3326
Worker Advice email firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to advising consumers directly, we also regularly assist community legal centres, consumer support workers, financial counsellors and other community workers acting for low-income consumers.
Consumer Action can:
- review consumer contracts and documents;
- help draft letters; and
- provide ongoing advice on particular cases where required.
Where appropriate, matters can also be referred to our legal casework team for legal representation of your client.
Consumer Action also has a number of template letters to help community and public sector caseworkers:
Letter making Hardship Application on client’s behalf
Letter requesting documents from creditor or debt collector
Letter to debt collector on behalf of judgment proof clients
Debt collection – letter of offer to settle
Debt collection – letter requesting waiver
Debt collection – letter to stop contact
Debt collection – Sample VCAT application for harassment
Matters we can assist with
Matters Consumer Action can assist with include:
- Banking disputes
- Credit disputes
- Debt collection
- Defective goods and services
- Electricity, gas and water company disputes
- Motor vehicle purchases and disputes
- Overcharging for goods and services
- Public transport fines
- Problems with debt collectors
- Rights to refunds
- Telephone and internet company disputes (including billing, misleading selling practices, unfair contracts)
- Unfair contract terms.
Service Charter for the Worker Advice Line
The purpose of Consumer Action Law Centre’s worker advice line is to:
- provide legal information and advice to caseworkers, including financial counsellors, community lawyers and other not-for-profit workers in relation to their clients’ consumer, credit and debt issues;
- build the capacity and knowledge of community workers to provide assistance to their clients in relation to consumer, credit and debt issues;
- maintain effective referral pathways for disadvantaged, low income or otherwise vulnerable clients requiring legal assistance; and
- provide us with information about the systemic issues impacting low income or otherwise vulnerable clients.
Caseworkers can access the worker advice line service by calling (03) 9629 6300 or emailing email@example.com. Alternatively, caseworkers can send enquiries by fax to (03) 9629 6898 or post to Level 6, 179 Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.
The following information sets out the standard of service you can expect from us when you contact the worker advice line, how you can help us to assist you, and how you can provide feedback about our performance.
What we can offer
Consumer Action receives funding to provide legal assistance to Victorian consumers and their workers in relation to consumer law and consumer credit law issues. Unfortunately, we’re not able to help with legal problems that fall outside our area of expertise, including disputes between individuals, fines/ infringements, business debts and investment disputes.
Through the worker advice line, we may help you by:
- providing information about the law, industry codes and dispute resolution;
- acting as a sounding board for you to test your knowledge and ideas;
- helping you formulate a strategy for assisting your client;
- reviewing client documents, including contracts, demands, default notices, court documents and terms of settlement; and
- where our limited resources allow,
- drafting or providing you with template documents, including letters, complaints and court documents; and/ or
- opening a file to represent your client.
Our service commitment
We aim to provide services that are:
- responsive; and
You can expect that we will:
- maintain multiple contact options, including telephone, email, fax and post;
- respond promptly to your enquiries;
- treat you with courtesy;
- respect your expertise and commitment to helping your client;
- act ethically and professionally;
- provide you with information and advice that is candid, accurate, clear, relevant and practical;
- provide you with clear reasons for our decisions, including the level of assistance we can provide you and your client;
- where we undertake to perform work for you, set realistic timeframes and deliver work within the time we specify, or tell you why we can’t;
- where we open a file to represent your client or refer them to another service, talk to you about our respective roles going forward; and
- deliver services in a spirit of partnership.
How you can assist us
To assist us to provide you with the best service possible, we expect that you will:
- tell us how you would like us to assist you and your client;
- tell us about the constraints you are working within, such as where your time, resources or experience dealing with a particular client issue is limited;
- to the extent possible, provide us with complete and accurate information about your client’s case and circumstances, including important deadlines;
- provide client documents to us in a timely way;
- ask us any questions you have about our information or advice;
- tell us if you or your client need extra assistance to access our services, an interpreter or information or advice in an alternative format, including in writing;
- tell us if you would like us to update you on your client’s case if your client has been referred to us, understanding that for confidentiality reasons our ability to do so is dependant on the client’s instructions and the terms of any settlement agreements entered; and
- tell us if your contact details change.
Complaints and feedback
We are committed to continually improving our service and we value your feedback.
If you are unhappy with our service, or you feel you have not been treated in accordance with this service charter, please let us know.
For information about making a complaint or giving feedback, please refer to our complaints and feedback policy, which is available on our website here.