Consumer Action will:
Credit & Financial Services Projects
Fair and safe financial products and services – financial inclusion isn’t just about access to financial services, but protection from exploitative products that are inappropriate to consumers’ needs. Consumer leases and payday lenders target high cost credit at consumers excluded from mainstream finance, and contribute to financial hardship and chronic debt. We will campaign for real reforms in this area, ensuring the real costs are disclosed, welfare payments don’t subsidise dodgy businesses, damaging marketing practices are exposed, and unfair contract terms stamped out.
General insurance – the insurance industry has long enjoyed special treatment under our laws. Insurers aren’t required to comply with basic consumer protections afforded by the ban on unfair contract terms that exists under the Australian Consumer Law. This means consumers aren’t engaging with a fair, safe and genuinely competitive insurance market, and we think it’s time that changed. We’ll campaign for legislative changes to bring insurance law into line with modern consumer law. We’ll also campaign for product standardisation so that consumers can actually compare one insurance product with another and pick the product that really is right for them.
Refunds for junk – many people are buying low value or unnecessary insurance products like consumer credit insurance or extended warranties and may not even realise they’ve done so, because it was bundled in with another more significant purchase, like a car or a household appliance. We think that’s dishonest – people should know exactly what they are buying and have enough time to think about whether they really need it, rather than having it forced on them at the point of sale. We’ll keep the industry accountable for its poor sales practices, and campaign for reforms that enable consumers enough time to think about the secondary products before they sign up to pay for them.