CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO HELP CUT THE HIGH COST OF LIVING

PICTURED: Trond Smith Consumer Advocate and Campaign Spokesperson

A new campaign aimed at helping cut the high cost of household bills and insurance premiums has been launched today (Thursday, 24 March 2022) to unite consumers ahead of the Federal Election.

In a first, ‘The Great Australian Rip Off’ campaign is exposing the secret payments and incentives many Australians don’t realise are driving up their cost of living for services including electricity and the internet.

Insurers have admitted secret commissions paid to commercial comparison websites — some as high as 40 to 60 per cent — end up being passed on to most Australians through higher premiums.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recommended regulatory change to end the secrecy and introduce penalties — but nothing has been done.

A Royal Commission, a Senate Economics Committee inquiry, and consumer group Choice, have all highlighted the dangers of hidden commissions — but mandatory disclosure is still not law.

Fed up with watching prices soar, Australian businessman and consumer advocate, Trond Smith has launched ‘The Great Australian Rip Off’ campaign to give voters a voice. The campaign is demanding election promises that greater consumer protection laws will be introduced to help bring down the high cost of living.

Mr Smith has spent eight years investigating commercial comparison websites and before creating the campaign tried fighting back by building a consumer-based, block-buying group called Kyco that uses people power to negotiate directly with providers for cheaper deals and discloses a three per cent commission.

“Petrol is around $2.00 a litre, we know this election is being fought on cost-of-living issues and now is the time to pressure MPs and future politicians to commit to introducing the recommended changes to stop the ‘rip off’,” Mr Smith said. “Right now, it is a broken system that is shrouded in secrecy.”

He said as part of a CHOICE review, health fund BUPA admitted commissions as high as 40 per cent were claimed for informing people of their choice. The fees, BUPA said, must be absorbed somewhere and that leads to higher premiums for everyone.

Insurance giant Allianz told a Senate Economics Committee that fees charged for their service “impose an unnecessary additional distribution cost that would need to be passed on to customers in the form of higher premiums”.

“We need the Government to do everything it can to bring down the cost of living. People are outraged when they learn they are having to ‘absorb’ the cost of commissions they are not told about,” Mr Smith said.

Each sign-up to www.thegreataustralianripoff.com.au triggers emails to the person’s local Federal MP, the Treasurer, and Opposition Treasurer calling for a written response and a public election commitment to:

Link to Media Kit, including Video News Release, Images and Fact Sheet can be found here

Jane Henschke | jane@adonimedia.com.au |Adoni Media

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