Flood-affected customers claim unfair rental treatment

21st April 2017 11:08 AM
Mountains of rubbish in Lismore after the 2017 flood event. The mother of a young Radio Rental's customer claims the company was charging her daughter, 20, fees despite her washing machine being destroyed and unusable after the floods. Marc Stapelberg

A RENTAL company has responded to claims it's been slugging Lismore customers with fees despite goods being destroyed by recent flooding.

A Lismore woman, who didn't want to be named, said her daughter's washing machine was unusable after the torrents of water ravaged her South Lismore apartment, her first home since moving away from her parents.

She said Radio Rentals had continued to bill her 20-year-old daughter for the non-functioning appliance for the past two weeks despite the pair calling the company's head office about their circumstances.

The woman also noted another resident in a similar rental debacle with the Australian franchise following the floods.

Group general manager of marketing, Darren Aquilina said he was "very surprised" by the claims and that the situation did not reflect their normal policy.

Mr Aqulina outlined the company's standard in the event of natural disasters is to replace the product as soon as possible and cease payment.

He also said the company's regional manager had not heard of any cases of customers being hit for fees after the floods.

A Credit and Investments Ombudsman spokesman said: "the situation may depend on why the goods were destroyed, but flood is often a cause which will result in the consumer being liable for the damage."

In this case, Mr Aquilina urged any flood-affected customers to call their local rentals store as soon as possible to rectify any issues.  

The Lismore woman thanked Radio Rentals for jumping on the issue for her daughter.

She said it would be "one financial burden" off her daughter's shoulders as she continues her recovery after the devastating natural disaster.