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Postcard from...Brisbane

 

The Consumer Protection Unit of Legal Aid Queensland is making legal rights a reality for disadvantaged people in Queensland, says Paul Holmes (Solicitor).

The Consumer Protection Unit (CPU) is a specialist team that provides free community legal education, information, expert advice and casework services to vulnerable people across the state.

To date, the CPU has lodged over 400 disputes with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) on behalf of clients who are facing:

  • financial hardship
  • repossession of their house or car
  • problems with their mortgage, personal loan, credit cards or other loans
  • problems with unsolicited consumer contracts sold on the phone or door-to-door
  • insurance related issues

 

It is important for vulnerable consumers to feel empowered in legal processes and, regardless of the result, to feel that their story has been heard. Paul Holmes, Solicitor at Legal Aid Queensland, says: “For many of our clients the main focus may be the loss of something intangible. Losing an asset like a house represents more than just the bricks and mortar. It’s important not to lose sight of this amongst legal complexities. I’ve learnt over the years that listening and understanding what a consumer has experienced is just as important to them as representing their legal interests.”

The CPU’s close working relationship with FOS provides the team with a sound understanding of the FOS EDR process, and how best to assist vulnerable consumers through the strongest presentation of a client’s case.

Networks such as the Consumer Liaison Group also provide Legal Aid Queensland with an excellent opportunity to communicate with FOS on a regular basis about how well its process works for the most vulnerable consumers as they try to access justice and have their disputes resolved fairly and efficiently.

For more information about Legal Aid Queensland please visit www.legalaid.qld.gov.au.

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