Radio program to empower Indigenous consumers

Consumer Protection today launched a radio program aimed at empowering Indigenous consumers and informing them of their rights when buying and maintaining a car.

The first of the eight-part radio series called “My Dardy Car” was broadcast on Noongar Radio in Perth (100.9FM) during a NAIDOC Week event today and was relayed live to Indigenous radio stations in Geraldton (Radio Mama) and Broome (Radio Goolarri). It will be broadcast on other regional stations throughout WA in coming weeks.

Indigenous Education Officer at Consumer Protection Carol Dowling, who was producer and presenter of the program, interviewed consumers, car dealers and vehicle repairers in Perth and regional WA for the radio documentary series.

“The program was inspired by research which showed that many Aboriginal consumers experienced problems when buying and getting repairs done on their cars,” Ms Dowling said.

“The series deals with negotiating and signing motor vehicle contracts, warranties and finance deals when buying a car and also maintenance issues related to sub-standard repairs and over-charging for work done to the vehicle.

“My hope is that the series will give Indigenous consumers the knowledge that will help them avoid these problems and prevent them from falling into traps by signing contracts they don’t understand, committing themselves to finance deals they can’t afford or getting a bad deal from car dealers and repairers.

“Many Indigenous consumers are reluctant to lodge a complaint when things go wrong, so I hope this program will give them the confidence to not only know their rights, but also to enforce them.”

There are concerns that Indigenous consumers:

  • Are at risk of being over-charged on the price of new and used vehicles and signing contracts for used vehicles of poor quality
  • May sign finance contracts when not being able to repay the loan and are unaware of the fees and charges associated with the loan
  • Can experience bad repair jobs and over-charging by repairers
  • Are unaware of their rights when their vehicle is repossessed
  • Are unaware of the benefits of using a licensed car dealer or repairer and their right to complain

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said that Indigenous consumers were particularly vulnerable to high pressure sales tactics and are often targeted by unscrupulous traders.

“Consumer Protection has special education campaigns that focus on the issues affecting Indigenous consumers, who often live in regional and remote areas and therefore have unique problems related to distance and culture,” Ms Driscoll said.

“We hope that programs like ‘My Dardy Car’ will equip Indigenous consumers with the knowledge about their rights that will ensure a positive buying experience and result in any problems being resolved to their satisfaction.

“Consumer Protection is ready and willing to assist in resolving any disputes and take legal action if required, so I encourage Indigenous consumers to lodge a complaint with us if they are unable to solve any problems with a trader.”

The radio program can be downloaded at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/DardyCar and for further enquiries, consumers can email consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.

END OF RELEASE

(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)

Follow us on Twitter: @ConsumerWA or like our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionWesternAustralia

Media Contact:
Alan Hynd
9282 0961 or 0429-078791
alan.hynd@commerce.wa.gov.au

Consumer Protection
Media release
11 Jul 2013

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