On Thursday 1 June 2017, CCLSWA volunteer paralegals Milica Jankovic and Andrew Shinnick spoke on Noongar Radio about issues relating to consumer leases.
A consumer lease allows you to rent an item for a period of time. It is a contract between you and the business which allows you to pay to use an item for a certain amount of time rather than buying it outright.
Before entering into a consumer lease, it is important to be aware that:
- they can be very expensive;
- extra fees and charges may be included in the contract;
- you do not own the item at the end of the contract;
- there is usually no cooling off period; and
- you are bound to the terms and conditions of the contract.
Milicia and Andrew discussed some alternatives to renting. They provided examples of other ways to get the item you may need but don’t have the money for right now, such as:
- Saving up for it – If you don’t need to get the item straight away, set aside some money each week or month and save up for it.
- Put it on lay-by. Some shops will let you buy things on lay-by and pay it off over a period of time. The shop will keep it until you have paid it off.
- Apply for a NILS loan – If you are a low income earner, you might qualify for the no interest loan scheme (NILS) to buy what you need. This type of loan means you only pay back exactly what the item costs.
One of the most common problems CCLSWA sees is ‘financial hardship’. Financial hardship is the position you are in if you are having difficulty making repayments on a loan, credit card or your consumer lease.
If you are in financial hardship, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. You are entitled to ask for changes to your consumer lease agreement on the grounds of financial hardship.
ASIC has a campaign to provide information to Indigenous consumers on how to avoid common financial mistakes. Working with an Indigenous creative agency, ASIC released three animated videos that combine humour and financial tips.
The campaign is called “Take a minute with your money”. The videos are on 3 separate topics. The first one looks at consumer leases. This video also includes information on getting a NILS loan.
These videos can be found on ASIC’s Money Smart website: https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/life-events-and-you/indigenous and the Money Smart YouTube channel.
If you, or anyone you know, are experiencing financial difficulty, or you think you may have entered into an unsuitable loan or consumer lease, you can contact CCLSWA for free legal advice. You may also wish to consider contacting a financial counsellor. Financial counsellors offer free information and advice to those experiencing financial difficulties. To find a financial counsellor nearest to you, go onto their website: http://www.financialcounsellors.org/
For more information about consumer leases, visit our website www.cclswa.org.au and check out our factsheet under the ‘resources’ tab. If you cannot find what you are looking for on our website or would prefer to talk to someone, please call our telephone advice line on (08) 9221 7066.