CCLS recently advised a client who had received an unsolicited telephone call and was signed up to buy $800 worth of meals from a business named EasyMeals. The client had recently been released from prison and was on Centrelink. It was only when he collected $800 worth of ready meals from the post office he realised what had happened. His support worker contacted us and the 2 of them met with Edward Souti and Gemma Mitchell last year.
CCLS argued that the agreement the client had entered into was an unsolicited consumer agreement, and the client was entitled to terminate the agreement at no penalty to him. We argued the 10-day cooling off period should be extended as the client was not advised during the call that he had a 10-day cooling off period, and he also didn’t receive anything in writing from EasyMeals.
The dispute resulted in us lodging complaints with the Department of Commerce (WA), Office of Fair Trading (QLD), and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Yesterday, the ACCC issued the following media release regarding EasyMeals: http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/easymeals-admits-misleading-consumers.
At the third dot point of the media release, EasyMeals has admitted that it contravened the ACL by failing to provide customers who had received unsolicited telemarketing calls with the information required by the unsolicited consumer agreements provisions of the ACL. This was exactly the argument that we put forward.
The ACCC says the investigation was prompted by a complaint from Anglicare Northern Territory. This highlights that as consumer advocates, it’s important that we continue to bring cases of misconduct to the attention of the regulators.