Anxiety and consumer rights – telephone legal help in Greek supports Do Not Knock community legal education in the City of Moreland

This case study highlights the successful collaboration between Victoria Legal Aid, Moreland City Council and community legal centres and the subsequent benefits to members of the community. [box]An elderly Greek woman attended a Victoria Legal Aid ‘Do No Knock’ session in April 2011 that was presented in partnership with the City of Moreland. A legal aid staff member spoke at this session to a large group at a Greek community club.

A couple of weeks after the talk, the Social Support Coordinator from the council contacted Victoria Legal Aid to seek help for this older woman. Following the presentation, the woman had become increasingly concerned about her dealings with a door-to-door visitor earlier in the year when she had signed a document to help her save on her energy bills. She was ashamed to say in front of her community that she had been ‘burnt’ at the door with a sales contract. She had been crying herself to sleep at night and her husband was also anxious. She had not been left with any paperwork and did not know who she had been dealing with.

Mary from Victoria Legal Aid rang the elderly woman and talked with her in Greek about what she had signed and what she could do. Mary spoke to her about checking whether the visitor had been from the not for profit Moreland Energy Foundation, careful monitoring of her energy bills over the next few months for any changes and getting further legal help if it turns out that she had signed up with another energy company.

The woman was relieved to receive this information and legal help over the phone. She said she had learned about her rights from the session and speaking with Mary individually and in the future she would deal very differently with any door to door visitors. She said that she felt able to exercise her rights not to allow a door to door person into her home and to request someone to leave if she wished to. She was thankful for our services and would not hesitate to ring our Greek legal information line if she had any concerns.

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