Consumer Leases – What Do I need to know?
What is a consumer lease contract?
It is a contract where you rent a white good or other household goods. You do not own the good at the end of the rental contract but in some cases you will have the opportunity to purchase it.
How do I pay for a consumer lease?
You pay a fortnightly fee for the term of the rental contract.
Do I own the good I receive as part of a consumer lease?
No you do not own the good during the rental contract or when the contract ends. In some cases you will have the option of buying the good at the end of the lease.
Can I pawn the good I have leased?
No you cannot because you do not own it. If you have pawned a good you have leased you should seek legal advice immediately.
Do Consumer Lease companies have the responsibility to assess whether I can afford to pay the money back?
Yes they must look at your income and expenses to make sure you can afford the lease repayments.
Is there a limit on the number of consumer leases you can have at any one time?
No there is no limit on the number of consumer leases you can have at any one time. However, each time you make an application for a consumer lease the company is required to assess whether you can afford the repayments without substantial hardship.
What happens to my payments if I lose my job or fall sick?
You are able to ask the company for financial hardship. This hardship could involve reducing your payments until you get well or get another job.
Renting the goods is very expensive. I pay way more than the value of the goods. Is that okay?
Consumer lease companies are not restricted or capped in the amount of money that they can charge you during the course of a lease.
Are there alternatives to consumer leases?
You may qualify for a No Interest Loan under the No Interest Loans Scheme. Please see https://nils.com.au/find for your nearest provider.
What happens if I don’t pay?
There is a risk that the company could take you to Court and list a default on your credit report.
Where can I get assistance if I have a problem with one of these contracts?
You are also able to call a Financial Counsellor on 1800 007 007 or Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88 for assistance.
You are also able to lodge a complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) at www.afca.org.au or 1800 631 978.
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