A centre for excellence in consumer advocacy, law and policy

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Zane Alcorn, a tradie from Melbourne’s northern suburbs, relies on his van to make a living, so he bought an extended warranty thinking it would protect him. However, when the van broke down and he went to claim he fell prey to a list of exclusions that almost rendered the warranty completely worthless. “It seemed kind of absurd” said Zane. “I guess I just trusted that there would be enough protections.”

Zane contacted Consumer Action and with the help of our legal service, managed to fight back against the company in order to get his van back on the road. Unfortunately these stories have been all too common at Consumer Action over the last decade, with countless Australians sold junk insurance and rubbish warranties.

Our policy experts crunched the numbers and realised that Australians were being sold over $70m in junk policies every year. Poorly designed products, shocking sales behaviour and outrageous commissions were uncovered as part of our reports ‘Donating Your Money To A Warranty Company’ and ‘Junk Merchants’ so we decided to do something about it.

Following Zane’s experience, Consumer Action set up DemandARefund.com – a website that helps Australians to complain about junk insurance and rubbish warranties and demand their money back. Since the launch of the website, Australians have demanded over $300,000 back and been featured by the Herald Sun, The Age, the TODAY Show, Today Tonight, the ABC and more.

The website was noted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in their ‘A market that is failing consumers: The sale of add-on insurance through car dealers’ report. Consumer Action will continue to fight these products in 2017.

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