The Melbourne-based Consumer Action Law Centre has started a campaign to help consumers seek refunds for dud add-on insurance policies and warranties.
It says consumers may have been duped into buying at least $70 million of consumer credit insurance (CCI), and the figure is higher when gap insurance and used car extended warranties are included.
In most cases consumers are not even aware they have been sold the products.
“That’s a pretty conservative estimate,” CEO Gerard Brody told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “It shows there is money to be made and salespeople will go to great lengths to sell.”
The Demand A Refund campaign follows the law centre’s damning report last December, which says salespeople use manipulative tactics to sell add-on covers when consumers apply for car finance and other credit.
The report says up to 65% of the premium paid for gap insurance goes to commissions, and CCI salespeople retain one dollar in every five.
“We are in it for the long haul,” Mr Brody said of the campaign.
“We are most concerned about the car sales market and financing of used cars. There is not a lot of oversight of sales practices.”
Australians who need help with letters of complaint, or who believe they have been sold junk, can visit the campaign website to submit their information.
“We believe there’s strong legal arguments for thousands of Australians to demand a refund,” the centre’s Senior Policy Officer David Leermakers said.
“With this new website, and the availability of free and easy-to-use ombudsman schemes, people who have been duped have the power to get their money back.”
Visit the campaign website here.