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Buying goods and services through the NDIS
Buying products and services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be confusing, especially if you have never done it before. It is important that you know your rights if something goes wrong.
Under Australian Consumer Law, if you buy something and there is a problem with it, you have the right to take it back and ask the business to fix the problem. The same applies if you pay for a service and it is not provided to an appropriate standard. These rights are called ‘consumer guarantees’ and they apply to all goods and services bought online, over the phone, in a shop or through a service provider.
Here are some tips to help you when purchasing good and services through the NDIS.
1. Think carefully about the product or service and what you want it to do.
Asking the right questions will help you decide what kind of product of service you should buy or hire.
If you want to hire a motorised wheelchair or a scooter, think about the differences in quality and features. Where will you be using it? What is the ongoing sales and care support? Are repairers accessible?
2. Compare offers and choose what is right for you.
Compare offers so you can choose what’s right for you. Take your time and don’t feel rushed.
Ask the business questions until you understand what you are buying or hiring. For example, if you are purchasing home care services, exactly what services are included? Are there any cancellation fees?
If you need help, talk to someone you trust, such as a family member, friend, community organisation, advocate or other support network.
3. Be aware that sometimes businesses make claims that are not true.
Sometimes a business or a salesperson may exaggerate the benefits of a product or service, or tell you that it does something it doesn’t do. If you have doubts about a claim, ask the salesperson for evidence to back up their claims. You can also seek advice from someone else. Remember, you have the right to say ‘no’ to a salesperson.
4. Find out as much as you can about the business selling you something.
Ask around, talk to other customers if you can, talk to your friends or support networks, search online and look at independent product reviews.
5. Don’t give your details to anyone you don’t know or trust.
Be careful with your personal information such as bank, tax file number and pension or Centrelink information. Sometimes people will try to trick you into giving them your personal information so they can steal your money.
6. Make sure you keep all the paperwork in a safe place where you can find it again.
If you pay for something and it doesn’t meet one of these consumer guarantees, you have the right to ask for a repair, replacement or refund.
If something goes wrong after your purchase, you might want to complain to the business. This means you have to prove you’ve made a purchase. Proof of purchase can be a receipt, a bank or credit card statement. You have the right to ask for a receipt for anything you buy or pay for, no matter if you use your money, NDIS or state government funding.
This is just as important when hiring goods or services. You need to know how much it costs and have proof of what you paid, and what you paid for. Make sure you keep a copy of receipts, warranties and anything you sign.
Australian Consumer Law regulators have produced videos and guides to help consumers with disability understand their rights. These include:
- an educational video on how to shop smart and use your rights
- an Easy English educational video (with Casey and Reece) on how to shop smart
- fact sheet with a short summary of your consumer rights and the steps you can take to resolve problems
- detailed guide explaining your consumer rights, how to be a smart shopper, what to look out for when signing a contract/service agreement and the steps you can take to resolve problems
- fact sheet on where to go for assistance or to make a complaint about a product or service.
All these videos and guides can be found at www.accc.gov.au/disabilityresources.