Consumer protection

Home care reform to continue

National Seniors is urging members to provide feedback about their experiences of home care services to inform a submission to the Federal Government.

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the government had released a public discussion paper on future care at home reforms, with the deadline for submissions 21 August.

“National Seniors will be making a submission, but it’s important our members tell us how the current home care system is working – or not working – for them,” Mr Henschke said.

National laws needed as 5.5 million baby boomers retire

National Seniors will continue its campaign for national reform of the retirement village industry, following Queensland Government moves to toughen consumer protection for residents.

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the Queensland Government was leading the way with its announcement last weekend that it would take urgent action to ensure fairness for seniors living in retirement villages and residential parks.

"Given that many of these retirement village companies operate nationally, we think it's only fair that people should have national laws," Mr Henschke said.

Don’t axe Energy Supplement payments to new pensioners

National Seniors is calling on the Federal Government not to axe payment of the Energy Supplement to new welfare recipients from 20 September this year.

In a submission to a Senate Committee, National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said energy prices had continued to rise and seniors were among those hardest hit.

“National Seniors opposes the proposal within the draft bill to cease payment of the Energy Supplement for all new welfare recipients, including Age Pension recipients, from 20 September 2017,” Mr Henschke said.

Seniors want simpler electricity pricing

Deregulation of retail electricity prices has led to a proliferation of offers that is confusing and misleading, especially to older consumers, according to National Seniors Australia.

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said many consumers had lost faith in the current system, given major retailers had been fined for false and misleading discount offers.

ACCC inquiry into retirement village operator welcomed

National Seniors Australia has welcomed news reports this week that the ACCC will investigate retirement village giant Aveo, following what Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt labelled “alarming allegations” about contracts and fees.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims reportedly told The Australian Financial Review the investigation would look into the more serious matters raised in relation to Aveo, and a wider regulatory review of the sector involving ASIC and state regulators was also needed.

Know your holiday accommodation rights

NSW Fair Trading is reminding consumers of their rights in relation to holiday accommodation.

Since January 2015, the state government agency has received almost 1,500 complaints from consumers about accommodation providers.

Complaints generally relate to unsatisfactory conditions, cancellations, undisclosed fees and charges, and refunds.

Prepaid funeral regulation to protect WA consumers

The Western Australian government is tightening the rules governing prepaid funeral funds, bringing them into line with other states.

The state’s Seniors and Ageing Minister, Mick Murray, said a mandatory code of practice would be developed to give consumers greater consistency, clarity and certainty when investing in prepaid funeral plans.

Seniors want consistent laws on retirement villages

National Seniors has repeated its long-standing calls for uniform legislation governing retirement villages to protect vulnerable seniors from exploitation.

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the Four Corners/Fairfax Media program on ABC TV on Monday night and other news reports had shown the sector was in dire need of a makeover to overcome piecemeal state laws that left older people locked into increasing fees and charges, including exit fees.

He said a simple, standard, fair, universal contract and a commissioner to oversee any complaints were clearly needed.

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