How to protect your rights - consumers with a disability

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When obtaining goods and services, make sure you ask plenty of questions and try to get the answers in writing.

Attendant care services

Questions you may like to ask:

  • What happens if the attendant carer does not turn up? Will I get a phone call to let me know? Will the agency arrange for a replacement if my attendant carer is unable to attend? What happens if something goes wrong? What will the agency do to fix the problem?
  • What do I have to pay for? Do I have to pay for the training of an attendant carer? Does that mean that I am sometimes paying for two attendant carers?
  • Will the attendant carer do everything I want? What happens if I need to be lifted and the carer says no?
  • What happens if I do not like the attendant carer? Can I get a different carer from the agency?
  • Can you put that in writing?

Buying a wheelchair

Questions you may like to ask:

  • Will it fit in my car?
  • Will it fit through my door, and in all the different rooms of my house?
  • How quickly can you repair problems?
  • Do you keep all parts in stock?
  • How long would it take to order in other parts?
  • Do you have a wheelchair that I can use while mine is awaiting repair?
  • How much would that cost? Are there any extras?
  • Can you put that in writing?


Issues to consider:

  • Make sure you read and understand a contract before you sign it. Do not sign unless you want to sign it.
  • You can ask a support person or family member to help you read the contract and understand it.
  • Make sure you understand everything in the contract.
  • If you do not understand anything, ask a lawyer or Consumer Affairs Victoria for help.

Hearing aids

Questions you may like to ask:

  • What do hearing aids do and what don’t they do?
  • What programs and features can be included in a hearing aid?
  • What are the different types of hearing aid: behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC) or completely in the canal (CIC)?
  • What do I need to consider to choose the most suitable hearing aid for me?
  • What is an open-fitting earmould?
  • Do I need to learn to hear again with hearing aids?
  • Can I arrange a trial period when purchasing hearing aids?
  • What is a reasonable trial period?
  • What are my entitlements if I choose to return the hearing aid/s?
  • Have I discussed a maintenance agreement with my hearing aid provider?
  • What are ‘top-up’ hearing aids provided to Office of Hearing Services clients?

Hearing aids, as well as hearing loops and volume-adjustable telephones, are used by the hearing impaired to improve their communication. Hearing aids are expensive items that can be funded by the Commonwealth, privately purchased, or a combination of both. Subsidised hearing aids can only be acquired through government accredited providers.

It is important to shop around, and check with an independent body like Better Hearing Australia. They are the only service in Victoria that provides free, independent and professional information and advice on managing hearing loss.

Aggressive marketing

Consumers with hearing impairments have been subject to sophisticated or even aggressive marketing techniques by businesses. These techniques have included phone calls or letters advising recipients that they may be eligible for a free hearing aid, and that they should come into the clinic or shop for a test - the hearing test is part of the marketing.

Aggressive sales

Anyone can sell hearing aids. Salespeople can get special discounts or bonuses if they sell a quota of the goods by the end of each month. This means you might be pressured to 'buy now'.