A story from regional Victoria

Paula’s story illustrates how salespeople can pick on vulnerable households:

 I work for a large welfare agency in regional Victoria and we manage a number of properties for the Office of Housing. One such property is in a block of units, surrounded by other low cost housing, where our clients, a middle age with an intellectual disability, lives. He cannot read nor write fluently and has very poor communications skills.

We provide affordable rent which includes a fee that covers the gas, electricity and water charges to the property. This means that all services connected to the property are in a business name and paid for by our agency.

This client has been approached a number of times by energy providers and on two occasions these canvassers have managed to change the electricity from our business account into her name, despite our agency’s best efforts in requesting a flag be put on our account with our nominated provider that, under no circumstances, would our account be removed from our provider.

The impact on the client has been enormous, not only have they incurred a debt with the providers who changed the accounts over, but the client has also been paying an amenities fee on a fortnightly basis – sadly the debt has now been forwarded to debt collector.

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