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Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), people with disability can now choose their own products and services to support their needs. If you have a problem with any product or service you buy you can use your rights under the Australian Consumer Law to sort it out.

What are your consumer rights?

Whenever you buy goods and services - whether they're related to your disability or not - you have the right to:

  • Ask for what you want (ask as many questions as you like)
  • Ask for a better price
  • Take your time before you make a decision
  • Be treated fairly
  • Get all the important, correct information about the item.

Your consumer rights apply whether you are buying products from a shop, a website, over the telephone, or from a door-to-door salesperson.

Video: Know your rights - People with disabilities

Video about your consumer rights when buying productts and services

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard explains your rights when purchasing disability services and products.

Transcript: Know your rights: People with disabilities

How to buy the right product for you

Smart tip

If you are asked if you want to pay extra for an extended warranty, make sure you understand what the warranty covers before you buy it. It might not give you any more protection than you already get for free under the Australian Consumer Law.

Do some research before you buy to make sure the product or service meets your needs. This is especially important if it is something you will use for a long time, or is worth a lot of money.

Here are some tips for being a smart shopper:

  • Check the features - Make sure the product has any special features you need. For example, if you're buying a mobile phone check it has features like larger buttons or a touch screen, accessible software, like voiceover or TTY compatibility if you need these. Find out more about mobile phones.
  • Shop around - Compare the price and features of different products or services to make sure you get one that's right for you. Get quotes from a different suppliers to compare their deals. If you are buying complex equipment, like a motorised wheelchair, remember to factor in the costs of customisation and ongoing maintenance, as well as the sales price. When you have decided on the one you want take the quote back to the supplier to be sure you get the same deal.
  • You can say 'no' - Salespeople can be very persuasive, but you have the right to say 'no' if you don't want to buy something or if you 're just not sure. If you feel pressured to make a quick decision, tell the salesperson you want to take some time to think about it before you decide.
  • Ask questions - If something doesn't make sense to you, or if the salesperson makes a claim that doesn't sound right, or is too good to be true, ask for more details. If you're still not sure, read some independent reviews of the product or company, or ask your friends, family or support networks for advice.
  • Protect your privacy - Never give your personal information to anyone unless you know why they want it and how they will use it. If you're buying from a company online, check their website's privacy page. If you can't find their privacy policy, don't buy from the website.

Getting help buying products with NDIS funding

An NDIS representative can help you through the process of buying products and services with your NDIS funding. If you have any questions, visit the NDIS website or call 1800 800 110 for more information.

If you are not already an NDIS participant, visit the NDIS website find out if you meet the access requirements.

Signing contracts

When you sign a contract with a business, they agree to do certain things for you, and you agree to do things for them, like make payments at a particular time.

A contract is a legal document, and there could be serious consequences if you don't meet your obligations. Be sure to read the contract carefully before you sign it so you understand what you are agreeing to.

Pay special attention to what the contract says about:

  • What the business will do for you
  • What your responsibilities are
  • When the contract starts and when it will end
  • How and when you need to make payments
  • Whether you can end the contract early if your circumstances change, and if you will be charged for this.

Get help from someone you trust if something in the contract is not clear. You can also get legal advice if you need it.

How to complain if something goes wrong

Under the Australian Consumer Law, the things you buy come with automatic consumer guarantees. For example, businesses guarantee that the products they sell are safe, have no faults, and do what they are expected to do. They also guarantee that services will be provided with acceptable care, skill and technical knowledge within a reasonable time. Visit the ACCC's website for more information about consumer guarantees.

If something goes wrong with a product or service you have paid for, you have the right to ask for the problem to be fixed. For tips on how to complain about different issues, visit our webpage on how to complain.

If you need help following up on a complaint you have already made, contact your disability or health services complaint body, or your local consumer protection agency.

A key part of being a smart shopper is knowing your consumer rights. Make sure you get the products and services you're entitled to, and make sure you complain to the supplier if something goes wrong or you are not happy with the product.

Related links

Last updated: 18 Oct 2016