Spur of the moment shopping caught me out


By Norma, mum and grandmother

I never thought I’d be taken advantage of when it came to my finances. I thought I knew better. I do know better…but they got me anyway.

I used to work in the community sector. I studied for a Diploma in Community Welfare while working at Liverpool Health Service and become a Community Welfare Officer.  I worked in Bankstown, Villawood and Cranbrook, NSW connecting people with their local services. I used to refer people to NILS loans, showing them how to apply and helping them through the application process.

After an accident, I had to take early retirement from work.  Since then I’ve been living on a disability pension which means I’ve had to be careful with my money.

I needed a new fridge as mine was old and too small to fit my groceries.  I wanted something bigger and more modern, but it was a lot of money to pay out in one go and I couldn’t afford it on my income.  I’d almost given up on the idea until I was speaking to one of my former clients and he asked if I’d called NILS yet.  It hadn’t actually crossed my mind!

Damien at Good Shepherd NSW (formerly Rosemount Good Shepherd) managed my NILS loan application – he was so good to me – and it was such a quick process!   Once I found the fridge I wanted, I shopped around until I found a really good deal.  It’s much bigger and more efficient than my old fridge, has double doors and a water dispenser – it’s absolutely beautiful, I love it.

It took 12 months to pay off my NILS loan and I only paid what the fridge cost. Nothing more.

Years later when I needed a new vacuum cleaner, I wish I had stuck with NILS. My friend uses a rent-to-buy company and on spur of the moment, I went with her into their store to look at the new vacuum cleaners.  Boy do their sales people know what they’re doing!

The salesperson made renting sound so easy and I got carried away, signing up on the spot for an 18 month contract.  I was so excited that my brand new vacuum would be delivered to me the next day – I didn’t stop to think about using a NILS loan instead!

After a year of making payments I contacted the rental company to find out how much I had needed to pay to own the vacuum cleaner when my contract ended in May this year.  I was horrified. I was told my contract was actually for three years!  On top of the fortnightly $39 I had been paying I would have to pay an additional $991, unless I continued to pay for another 18 months and then I could buy it for $1.

When you do the calculations I’m paying more than double what the product is worth, it is shocking. I’ve asked a professional to look at the contract as I don’t believe this is what I agreed to in the store but at the moment it is my word against theirs.

I’m devastated I fell for the sales pitch from this company when I already knew about NILS loans, but I never will again. As I have successfully paid off a NILS loan, I now qualify for the *AddsUp Savings Plan, so I will always use my savings or a NILS loan in future.

*Please note: The AddsUP program is no longer available. 

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