Affordability – The Real Experience | Consumer Law Centre

Affordability – The Real Experience | Consumer Law Centre


[upbeat music plays] So I’m Gerard Brodie, I’m the CEO of Consumer Action Law Centre We represent low-income and vulnerable Victorians who are struggling with consumer issues
including telecommunications issues. Look I think it varies significantly, there are some people that are more financially savvy maybe have looked around and found that the best offer whether that’s often a prepaid offer so they can manage their budgets better.
There are others in the community who are, sort of sold the high-end products. They seem good but the salesman can upsell them – the latest phone, the
most expensive contract without really realising what they’re signing up to you
so we commonly speak to people who have entered into a contract that is
expensive or in some way unfair and they’re having problems with that and wanting some advice and assistance. I think affordability often stems from the way
in which a particular product is sold sometimes people can receive calls from
unsolicited sellers over the phone or even door-knocking, to sell them a
particular phone plan or internet plan that seems good at the time but they
don’t really have the opportunity to think through whether it suits their
requirements and a high pressure sale can mean that they sign up
without that thinking through and that can become an affordability problem down the track when they realise that the bills are much more than they thought they would be to start off with. Look I think that our telcos and our internet providers could do a much better job in their selling practices. I’d like to see all these providers sort of abolish unsolicited sales and wait for a
consumer to approach them and then be there to offer good independent advice
about the best offer for someone. I’d also like to see products more suitable or adaptable for those
living on low incomes and even, you know being marketed ‘this is a product
for a low-income earner’ so that they know that the product is safe or is only
going to cost them a certain amount without any hidden fees or charges which
can often trip people up.

Danny Hutson

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