Consumer Credit Legal Service (WA) Inc. is a statewide service that provides free legal advice and/or representation in the areas of banking, finance, credit; and consumer goods and services. The organisation provides free legal advice through the telephone advice line (08 9221 7066), casework and community legal education.
Do you know how to assist your client who has a contractual dispute?
Throughout 2015, CCLSWA will run workshops for financial counsellors and other consumer advocates on a range of consumer advocacy topics including: understanding contracts, identifying breaches of consumer rights and negotiations on behalf of your clients. We will begin with Contracts: what they are; when they become legally binding and how to assist a client with a contractual dispute. The workshop series will kick off on/at:
10 March 2015 930AM – 11AM King & Wood Mallesons’ offices Level 30, QV.1 Bldg, 250 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
Please arrive by 9:30AM for a 9:45AM start Numbers are limited so please RSVP by COB Friday 6 March 2015 email@example.com
Retiring Baby Boomers
In a recent Sydney Morning Herald article, the writer pointed out that baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964) do not have sufficient wealth to retire. Whether it is to fund their own lifestyles or their families’ needs, boomer consumers’ probable choices regarding debt include reverse mortgages, loans to their adult children (e.g. for them to break into the property market) and funds to meet their commitments as the ‘sandwich’ generation looking after elderly parents as well as their adult children, etc. For more on this, see:
At CCLSWA we come across elderly clients who sign up as co-borrowers, guarantors or reverse mortgagors in order to help their adult children or to have a disposable income. There are serious implications to such financial commitments. If anyone has questions about the legal implications, please contact us via email - firstname.lastname@example.org or on our advice line - (08) 9221 7066 (9am - 4pm) weekdays.
Facts A client contacted CCLSWA after signing a gym contract.
CCLSWA argued the following grounds under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL):
1. Misleading or deceptive conduct: the client believed the membership was for 3 months, not 20 months.
2. Unconscionable conduct: the gym took advantage of the client’s weaker bargaining position as a consequence of an existing mental health condition , which was an indication of not acting in good faith.
3. Unfair contract terms: the cancellation fee was unfair as it placed a severe burden on the client in comparison with the costs faced by the business. The cancellation fee was not reasonably necessary to protect the gym’s interests.
As a result of CCLSWA's actions the dispute was successfully resolved in the following ways:
- The gym retained the ‘overpaid’ amount of $300.
- The client was released from any further obligations under the contract, including making any further repayments or paying a cancellation fee.
-The gym notified the direct debit company that the client was not liable for any further payments and all contact was ceased.